- Eating with all of your senses
Practising mindful eating is one of my dearest subjects when it comes to self care and a healthy relationship to food. Why? Continue reading and you'll get my view on this practise and way of eating.
It might sound a bit weird. As if eating in a mindful state would be something complicated. It’s really not. It’s really just about being (really) present when you eat, listening more deeply to your bodys signals, to be able to even better appreciate what you're eating. How? By letting all of your senses register what you’re eating and what you are experiencing. What does the food look like? How does it feel on your tongue, on you palate? How does it smell? How does it REALLY taste? How does it sound when you take a bite? What flavours can you notice? Pay attention to the colors, textures, aromas, flavours, temperatures and sounds. By doing so you can witness the sensations that comes up when you're eating - in a totally different way! Once again, food is magic.
Slowing down, being more conscious about the food that you’re eating - and all of it's characteristics - will not only most likely make you appreciate the food even more, you will at the same time help your body to better absorb all the nutrition in the food. Also, you’re more likely to eat the amount of food that your body is really asking for instead of over eating. And note - it’s not at all about any diet or not eating if you’re still hungry - it’s about getting to know your body, it's signals, it’s mechanics and what it's asking for.
As a person who has been thinking A LOT at completely unnecessary stuff when eating for so many years (due to years of eating disorders, read the whole story here), avoiding judgements and criticism when eating has been a really big and relieving thing. Eating and enjoying - instead of eating and judging/over thinking/regretting/planning - has been one of the most life changing things for me. And let's just say I really love the enjoying part.
When we’re talking about getting to know your bodys signals it’s really relevant to mention the feeling known as hunger. Or, what it really is if we were to break it down, special hormones flushing through your body telling your brain the body are now ready to take on some fore food since the thing you ate last time is now taken care of. Easily explained that is. Anyways, sometimes we eat only because we "should" or because the clock says so. Because we feel all these things and don't know how to get rid of them. Because we are really craving something, and think that is the feeling of actual hunger. And not because we actually need more food right now. For me mindful eating has really helped a lot in the work of separating all those situations mentioned above - from the feeling of actual hunger. With this written - I also listen to my cravings sometimes. Some days I eat when I'm not super hungry but because I'm invited to a friends house and he or she made me a great dinner, or I eat something because it's SO NICE to have something to snack on when watching a great movie, or because I just want to eat right now. Get the point? it's not about setting up any rules - it's about finding balance.
And before I let you wander off I want to read this part as well. Yes, sometimes you'll most definitely find me standing with one hand in the fridge munching on some great leftovers. And A) yes, in some way that could probably be done mindfully as well but B) most important there are no rules and nothing will happen if you eat in a non mindful state sometimes too. It's all about finding a balance, not taking life too serious. Try to have at least a few mindful meals with yourself every month. That will be a great thing to do for yourself. Okay?
Mindful eating in 4 steps
* Switch off your television/computer, don't scroll through you SoMe feeds, maybe even try to put your favourite book away while eating sometimes.
* Give yourself time to eat, start by really looking at your food before digging in to it. Then let all of your senses be present.
* Take a deep breath before digging in, as to tell your body you're at ease - and in for a treat!
* Put down your fork/knife/spoon/hand between your bites, it works as a signal to self to settle down - to slow down.
Enjoy every bite,
With love from Thess