On my retreat last summer, a fellow attendee (hey Alex!) taught us about mindful eating:
Mindful eating (i.e., paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment) is an approach to food that focuses on individuals’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food. It has little to do with calories, carbohydrates, fat, or protein. (source)
It wasn’t until I was prompted to be mindful and slow down that I actually did so. Each of our meals was thoughtfully crafted with love and beautifully presented at an outdoor dining table at an ecological, secluded resort on the beach, mind you—so that alone was a lot to take in. Plus there was a b s o l u t e l y NOTHING to hurry off to, so absolutely no excuse to rush.
The actual work was getting back to life, back to reality and applying this practice.
I have/had been this way for years; pair working a lot with an active social life and bursts of creativity in my adulthood. All that movement had me thinking there were always better things I could be doing than sitting down and bothering with nothing else but the food in front of me. Living alone for a significant part of this time also had me asking why prepare unique or elaborate meals just for myself?
I had “better” things to do.
But clearly I ain’t been livin’ right, y’all! I was eating too fast (especially if I needed to get ish done. And don’t let the food be delicious! #gone in60seconds!!) And I was almost always distracted by a device (phone, tv, computer..) This mindful practice has definitely been difficult as I’m very used to doing things in a get’er done fashion. And even though I still sometimes find myself forking up a meal too quickly, I recognize it and pump my brakes. Other times, I do take in all elements of the meal from beginning to end: colors, temperature, textures, flavors and so on. Also, for the past year or so, I’ve been very Pinterest-y with my meal planning; not only does this bottomless well of recipes encourage me to try new foods and combinations, but I no longer care how much time it will take to prepare nor if I have to enjoy it alone! I just do it!
There are many benefits to being mindful! It’s seeped into other aspects of my life; mindfulness really helps me to register my emotions, be more present and makes moments easier to remember and assess. Also:
Simple Tips to Stop Overeating (via Change Begins With You)
- Eat with no distractions.
- Eat fiber-rich foods.
- Don’t skip meals!
- Swap sugary drinks for water.
- Don’t eat out of a container.
- Don’t ban your favorite foods.
It’s easy to fatten up on all the free samples and gifts with purchase in the malls and grocers, graze every platter at the holiday parties and not move as much because it’s just too dang cold to bend over to tie your sneakers and get outside. With the holiday season over (thank goodness!), many are claiming to make the new year, once again, their best year. (I include myself in this lot as every year is my year 😏) I think just being mindful of how, what and when we consume is a great place to apply change any time. Give it some thought.
Do you allow yourself to practice mindfulness? Is it something you need to get into?