Mindful Eating For Beginners
I’ve been thinking a lot about how and what I eat. I think we all have moments in our lives when our relationship with food becomes somewhat detached and we forget to stop and really think about where our food is coming from and what it tastes like. Do you remember your last meal? What did it smell like, taste like, look like? As I am typing this, I realized that I just inhaled a cold bagel with cream cheese while simultaneously petting my dog with my foot and pausing to check the ding on my phone. Ugh, that was definitely not a satisfying experience. It makes me think of the many times I have been at work and I have just shoved food in my mouth while walking from one meeting to the next or while typing up reports and answering emails. I think in a culture that views multitasking as efficient and busy as good, we are perpetually living in a state of doing and chaos, which leaves us feeling run down, exhausted and always feeling like we should be accomplishing more.
I am sick of doing more! I actually want to do less and want you to do less as well. How, you say? Let’s start with mindful eating. In partnership with Ziraffe, for the next week, I want you to pick three meals, heck, let’s start with three bites of food, and mindfully eat.
Why start with mindful eating? Well besides from the many benefits of mindful eating, I thought it would be way easier to ask you to do something that you already do, eat, as opposed to introducing something new into your routine.
So here’s how:
The next time you sit down to eat, whether it be at work or with your family, try to take one mindful bite of food. To do so, ask yourself these simple questions:
Before eating notice:
- Why am I eating?
- Am I sitting down? If not, sit.
- What does my food smell like?
- What does my food look like?
- Where does the food I am about to eat come from? A plant, a tree, an animal?
During your first bite (close your eyes when you take it):
- What side of my mouth am I chewing on?
- What flavors do I taste?
- Am I eating fast or slow?
After your first bite?
- What thoughts did I notice? Was I focused on my food or was I thinking about other things? Either way is perfectly fine---don’t judge, just notice.
- What feelings did I have? Was I anxious and wanting to get the bite over with? Did I enjoy it? Did it bring satisfaction?
I have been practicing mindful eating (whether it be one bite each meal, or an entire meal each day) for about 10 weeks. I still have many meals that aren’t mindful (like my most recent bagel experience) but I am trying my best to integrate this practice into my life. When I do, I have noticed that my relationship with food has changed.
I am teaching Winter how to do mindfully eat too! The other day, we had a little snack picnic complete with popcorn and apples on our back patio. The reusable snack bags and darling backpack are made from sustainable materials (organic and/or recycled) with 100% certified organic cotton and a 100% polyester lining. They are reusable, machine washable and the designs are just to die for. It was adorable to watch Winter pack and carry her own food out onto the patio. I highly recommend these items to anyone with kids!
Mindful eating isn’t about losing weight or trying to eat less, it’s about giving yourself the gift of slowing down each day. Below are some observations that I have noticed from trying mindful eating.
- The other day, I was eating oatmeal with cinnamon. I noticed that I didn’t know a lot about the origins of cinnamon. After my mindful meal, I looked it up. Turns out it originates from Indonesia! It’s pretty cool that my mindful eating caused me to learn something new.
- I notice that I listen to my body cues more. I am aware when I am eating out of boredom, stress or anxiety, as opposed to when I am actually hungry.
- It has made me feel more connected to others around me and I am more appreciative of the effort it took others to provide my family with food. I often stop and think about the person who hand picked my strawberries or the person who packaged them, drove the truck to transport them or the clerk at the grocery store who bagged them for me.
- It gives me more desire to grow my own food. Perry and I have always had a big garden but since starting my mindful journey, my relationship to the food that we have grown has deepened. I’ve realized how important it is to make our daughter, Winter, an integral part of the process, from planting the seeds, watering the garden to harvesting.
I can’t wait to hear about your mindful eating experience! Please comment below to tell if and when you try it!
Also, don’t forget to check out my profile on the Ziraffe LovedBy_Community™ where I am selling some of Winter’s items to raise money for Postpartum Support International. There is still an Ergo Baby wrap available!