Taking a mindful approach to our actions and choices can help us to remain in the present moment, and make conscious decisions, rather than running on autopilot, unable to live intuitively and tune in to how we truly feel.
Along with making mindful choices, practicing mindful eating can help us to take a whole new approach to our mealtimes, working as a really good way to react to our hunger and fullness cues, alongside helping us to eat our food at a more enjoyable pace.
When we eat on the go, or whilst otherwise engaged, we are not fully present. This could create the potential to over-eat, as our brain may not have processed that our body is eating until toward the end of the meal, therefore is unlikely to feel satisfied and fulfilled.
As well as this, eating in a rush means we may not chew our food properly.
When we chew, it enlivens the digestive enzymes in our saliva, working as the first step in the digestion process. When we skip this step, it may affect the way we break down our food therefore impact our digestion.
So how could we start a journey toward more mindful eating?
Make time for meals
Reclaim that lunch break! Whether it’s at work or working from home; a busy schedule makes it easy to skip meal times or eat it on the job. You deserve a break in the middle of the working day – it will give your brain a chance to recharge its batteries ready for what the afternoon has in store.
Taking that break will be the opportunity to sit present and enjoy a meal, rather than scoffing a sandwich with one hand whilst sending an email with another. Consider putting your phone in your drawer, closing your laptop and making some time for your meal.
Use your senses
Which flavours can you taste? What colours can you see? How does it smell?
Asking yourself these questions and tuning into your senses will not only help you to appreciate and enjoy what is on your plate, but also prevent your mind from wandering and forward thinking about the to do list you need to tackle later in the day. Remember, if we don’t taste our food, how can we enjoy our meal?
An engaging eating environment
Moving away from your work space and enjoying your food in an area which is free from mess and clutter could help to prevent that sudden guilt to rush your meal, clear away the pots and get back to work. Create an environment which is free from distraction so that you can fully focus on the task at hand. Rather than slouch, try to sit upright to support easy digestion and make wise wardrobe choices – anything tight could cause an uncomfortable eating experience, alongside unneeded pressure on the stomach. Eating with someone you live with could also make it easier to take things slow – we’re less likely to shovel it in when someone is looking! :)
Tune into your feelings
If you’re having a hectic one, or feeling stressed, you may carry that forward in the way that you eat. Before each meal, check in with yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or as if you have somewhere to be – pause and acknowledge your feelings. Take 3 mindful breaths - you’re back in the room! Remember, taking a break is always a good idea.
Mindful eating can help you to distinguish your hunger levels, decide which food you fancy and make your meal experience all the more enjoyable!
Some useful questions which may encourage you to remain in the present moment at meal times:
- How do I feel?
- What do I like about this meal?
- What flavours can I taste / smell?
- How many colours / textures can I see?
- How does this meal make me feel?
- Who would I like to eat it with next time?
- Do I feel satisfied?
Hope these questions help!
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development. We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.