Even if we start to ingrain a habit of eating mindfully – savouring, tasting and fully chewing an experiencing every single bite – sometimes life creeps in and we notice we’ve bolted that lunch down at our desk. Eating mindfully helps our digestive processes and so helps our immunity and ability to cope with stress by supporting a healthy gut environment; see how in the Which Stress Suit Are You Wearing? chapter.
Chewing fully helps to release tension in the jaw and head and slow us down when we may have got caught up in fast doing mode.
Simply having a cue, trigger or blatant reminder to slow down and when eating, only eat, can reset the consciousness involved with mindful eating. Like anything this takes practice to become a habit, so see if you need to come back to very deliberately sitting down with your food to fully appreciate every few days, it is great to reset this now to instill long-term change that will benefit you greatly.
- Prepare some food to have ready to sit down and eat with no interruption or other activity at the same time. So no TV, radio or reading material.
- Whilst you’re doing this, simply grab a couple of olives or nuts and just eat whilst doing the activity of food preparation.
- Now stop and notice, did you taste the olives or nuts? Do you remember chewing them or how they felt in your mouth?
- Finally, sit down to your meal, take 10 Deep Breaths – fully exhaling out and even sighing if it feels right – and begin to eat, slowly and mindfully.
- Notice the difference between each of these conscious mouthfuls and the quickly bolted food before.
- Remember this difference and find a way to note it so that you take this memory with you into this and towards all of your future meals. This could be with particular cutlery or special plate at home or an ornament to signify at your desk .
- Practice as much as you need to find yourself slowly down naturally and setting a new pattern.
Mindless eating is known to add to weight gain by bypassing listening to or feeling your intuitive needs. Chewing fully helps break down your food for full nutrient absorption and tells your body when you’re full for appetite regulation.
Mindful Eating Meditation
To help us reconnect with the whole sensory experience of eating, it can help to come back to the Mindful Eating Exercise on page 93 of The De-Stress Effect. Here is a podcast to take you through, which you can use over again as a meditation practice in itself or a reminder to slow down and taste.
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