Do you find yourself craving a favorite food, mouth watering donuts, chocolate, a stuffed crust pizza? Then after you’ve eaten, you can’t even remember what it tasted like.
If we were really craving something specific, wouldn’t we want to savor every bite? Wouldn’t we eat it super, super slow, clearing the palate with a swish of water or wine, making every mouth full seem like the first time your taste buds experienced those flavors?
Instead, we eat so fast and so much that it becomes painful. Think of the last time you were at an all you can eat buffet or Thanksgiving dinner.
We all know we should slow down, but it’s easy to see it’s just not in many of our natures. My oldest daughter after finishing any snack or meal first, always yells, “I WON!!”.
Even after telling her it’s not a race, that she should slow down and enjoy her food, it’s just not her.
My son, who is almost two, loves to savor his food, but sadly our daily schedule and society will no doubt beat that out of him, starting with our schools 20 minute nutritional breaks.
Every day, I ask my girls why almost full lunches come back home, they always say, “There just wasn’t enough time to eat”. Their only option is to eat quickly if they are going to eat at all.
We all know it takes time for the brain to realize we’re full. We know we should eat slowly. The problem is we really don’t want that “I’m Full” mechanism to kick in.
There are so many amazing foods available to us at the grocery store and restaurants, that we now suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to food.
The problem is our stomach wasn’t meant to hold garlic bread, wings and half a pizza all in one sitting.
We need to stop, to sit down, to breathe, to eat slowly, enjoy and be grateful for the food that is nourishing our bodies.
But just like changing any habit, it’s going to be a challenge, take continues awareness and effort.
We often hear people say, I can’t diet or lose weight because I love food too much. If we really LOVED food so much, we would slow down and enjoy it, inadvertently causing us to eat less of it. This is the whole premise of the book French Women Don’t Get Fat.
Changing a habit isn’t always easy, but it does get easier. Your body and waist line will thank you.
Here are some tips to mindful eating, and some ways to help you slow down.
- Look at the food and appreciate the color and appearance.
- Think about whether you’re hungry or eating because you’re emotional.
- Listen to the sizzling of the food or the sounds of the food being crunched when you eat.
- Feel if your tummy is full, rumbling or empty.
- Breathe deeply before you eat and gently while you’re eating.
- Touch the food and see how it feels.
- Maintain good posture while you eat.
- Chew slowly and taste the food as you eat.
- Avoid distractions such as the TV or mobile phone while eating.
- Be seated comfortably while you eat.
- Smell all the food you’re eating and appreciate the aromas.
- Notice how you feel while eating and try and understand your emotions.
If you have young kids, ask them to do some of these as well. Not only will this encourage them to be more mindful when eating, but it’s a nice way to spark conversation at the table.
I often ask the kids about their day, only to be told they can’t remember.
Asking about what is on their plate is an easy conversation starter. It is also a great teaching opportunity on food, where food comes from and how to use all your senses when eating.
For more motivation on mindful eat, I highly recommend the following books: