Mindfulness is in vogue right now, and for good reason. Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to have countless benefits. But the one form of mindfulness that I think needs more of a spotlight is mindful eating.
What is mindful eating?
Put simply, mindful eating is being fully present when you eat. We often are multitasking when we eat, and may not even sit down for a meal. But with this practice, the focus is completely on the meal and how it makes you feel.
Why should I be practising mindful eating?
There are plenty of benefits to general mindfulness, which mindful eating can also offer. But more specific benefits include:
- Reducing stress around mealtimes, allowing you to chill out and take a break
- Boosting digestion, as the more you’re engaged with your meal, the more digestive enzymes you produce. You’ll also chew more thoroughly
- Increasing the awareness of how food impacts on your body and your feelings
- Boosting your enjoyment of the experience that is eating!
How do I start mindful eating?
Mindful eating doesn’t have to be complex. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Start off with no distractions. Lose the smartphone, turn off the TV. Your meal is the focus right now.
- Sit down. This is no time to be standing!
- Take a few moments to enjoy the scent of your food.
- Take one fork or spoonful. Really savour the texture, the flavour and the temperature.
- Chew thoroughly, and see if there are changes to the flavour.
- Continue to notice how the food makes you feel as you eat it. Does it taste best at the start of the meal? Or is it delightful with every bite?
- Sit for a few minutes after finishing to think back over your experience.
- Continue to practice this at least a few times per week to reap the benefits.