Eat Mindfully This Summer
Losing weight is a popular reason why people come to Take Care Coaching. But with summer BBQs, kids still on summer break, and vacations away, it can be hard to eat healthy and commit to losing weight. That’s where mindful eating can be a great technique to use.
Mindful eating is about being aware of your food choices as well as how you eat your food. It takes into account the decisions you make about your eating in regard to what, when, where, how much, how fast, and even with whom you are eating. It’s also about being in tune to how you eat. Do you smell your food before you taste it? Do you regularly notice the texture, temperature, colors, and sounds of your food? Let’s walk through how to eat more mindfully.
Try this exercise at your next meal or snack! Start by bringing your full attention to a piece of food in front of you. Notice the color. Notice if the light shines on it differently in different places. Notice if there are smooth or rough places. Pretend like you have never seen this piece of food before. Be super curious about it!
Next, place the piece of food in your hand or on a fork and notice the weight of the object. Does the light shine on it differently now? Then concentrate on every movement it takes to move your hand and arm so that you can bring the piece of food under your nose. Once under your nose, smell the food. What does it smell like? Do you notice an urge to want to eat?
Then slowly open your mouth and place the piece of food onto your tongue without chewing or swallowing it. Just let it rest in your mouth. Notice everything that is happening. Do you notice a desire to chew?
Okay, now you can begin to chew very slowly, noticing the taste, your tongue movements, and changes going on in your mouth. Repeat with another piece of food. We recommend trying this exercise with a snack and then building up to eating mindfully at a full meal.
Here are additional ways you can practice mindful eating at every meal:
1. Eat only when your physically hungry. Do you know your own hunger signals? Everyone is different. Common hunger signals can be your stomach growling, feeling low in energy, or becoming a bit cranky (aka hangry). Also, know when you are satisfied. This is before you are full or stuffed with food. You want to stop eating when you’re satisfied.
2. Simply focus on eating. Turn the TV off, silence your phone, and focus only on your food.
3. Make conscious food choices by planning your meals and snacks at the beginning of each week.
4. Try to notice food colors and textures and how food smells and tastes.
5. Thoroughly enjoy your food each time you eat.
6. Be the slowest eater— take at least 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy your meals.
If mindful eating is something you’re interested in working on, let Take Care Coaching help you! For additional information to a look at the evidence-based resources below.
The Center for Mindful Eating: http://thecenterformindfuleating.org/Principles-Mindful-Eating
Greater Good at Berkeley: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/better_eating_through_mindfulness