Mindfulness is a real trend at the moment, and for good reasons! Mindfulness has proven benefits for mental health, stress management, even professional and sporting performance. It can also help to improve our relationships with food and our bodies by allowing us to reconnect with our senses, our internal signals or hunger and satiety and the experience of eating.
Sounds great but where do you start? Here are some tips to try:
- Chose a meal or snack where you have a little more time to engage with the meal. It would be nice to eat mindfully all the time but for most people this is unrealistic and then it becomes to difficult to do at all.
- Obvious one- minimise distractions- turn off devices, close the book/magazine, don’t eat whilst driving or working etc.
- Sit a table to eat- don’t stand/lean/eat on the couch
- Take a few deep, purposeful breaths before the meal to bring yourself into the moment.
- Think about all the resources that went into providing this meal for you- the farmers labour, the water to grow, the kilometres of transport, the unpacking and packing at the supermarket/green grocer/butcher, your hard-earned money to purchase it, the time and effort to prepare it etc.
- Check in with your body- how hungry am I? When did I last eat? When will eat again? How active am I today? Am I stressed or ill?
- Go through each of your senses to experience the food- describe to yourself how it looks, does the smell cause any thoughts or saliva production, does it feel as it should, where do you taste it on your tongue, what is the after taste, how does it feel in your stomach.
- Check in with your body halfway through the meal and again at the end- has the hunger gone? Am I satisfied? Am uncomfortably full or bloated? Was that the right choice for me in this moment?
For more information on mindful eating and the benefits to your health and performance see one of Eat Smart’s team of Dietitians.