We are entering into our fourth month of 2017 and the dust has started to settle. Has everyone stuck to those goals they set up on January 1st?
One of the new buzz words I keep seeing is mindfulness.
Mindfulness applies to many aspects of life. Being present, meditation, looking out for others, etc.
I have noticed since my work has gone from a corporate office to a home based standing desk immediately next to my kitchen, my mindfulness around eating has dramatically changed.
When you are in an office and you are avoiding a challenging project, you can simply walk down the hall and distract yourself with a friendly conversation with a co-worker. At home, not so much.
Suddenly, if I added up all of the hours that I spend in the kitchen, I would find I am spending WAY too much time on preparing, cooking, and picking at food.
What is mindful eating anyways? Well, it can be many things. Let’s start with what it’s NOT:
-Eating while doing other activities (talking, texting, watching TV, working on your computer, driving)
-Eating while standing up
-An eating marathon (when you continuously eat for hours)
-Eating for the sake of eating, even when your body is fully fueled
Most of us are busy throughout the day and probably can’t remember what we had for breakfast, let alone savoring the flavor of our meal by feeling it in our mouth, chewing conscientiously, appreciating the texture, and enjoying each bite.
When we chew our food, it is an “introduction” of that food to our cells. It allows the body to begin to break down what will soon become part of us.
Four key things you can do to be more mindful when eating include:
- Put food in your mouth ONLY when you are seated. This is a tough one. Especially for someone like me who loves to pick at everything while I prepare my actual plate. Problem is, by the time I sit down, I have already had a meal in itself!
- When you plan to eat – ONLY do that – EAT. Put down your electronics. Shut your laptop. Enjoy the scents and sounds around you. Don’t eat distracted while driving, at your desk at work, or in bed. When you are distracted, you miss the chewing & breakdown of food, as well as the enjoyment associated with eating.
- Stop shoveling! When your mouth is full, your fork should be empty. Don’t begin to load up your next bite before you have finished chewing your last bite. Even if you are just holding it there, waiting to finish your existing bite. You are rushing your chewing process and not fully breaking down your food. As a result, you are not likely digesting as effectively as your body should be allowed.
- Close your kitchen. When you are done, be done. Make a decision to end the meal. Decide there is no more activity related to eating for that night. Maybe brush your teeth, or have a cup of tea. Create a signal to your body and brain that you are complete.
Mindful eating can be a challenge. Start by picking one or two of the tips above.
You may not only find your tummy will thank you, but you might lose a few pounds in the process!