We live in such a fast-paced society, where it's GO! GO! GO! all the time.
I see people eating while they're driving. We're in too much of a hurry to get our coffee that places like Starbucks now give us a drive-thru option so we don't even have to park the car to fill our bodies up with artificial energy. We drive fast. We talk fast. We multi-task. We also eat fast, scarfing our food down so quickly that because we don't chew it or taste it, our brains don't even recognize that we've eaten and so we find ourselves hungry soon after because our satiety signals never turned on.
- Have you ever chewed your food more than 30 times before swallowing it?
- When's the last time you really tasted your food and savored each bite?
- Do you multi-task while you eat? Do you eat while you're watching TV, emailing, or talking on the phone?
I'd like to introduce you to the notion of MINDFUL EATING. It's a topic that has interested me for quite a while because I believe that it is a skill that must be mastered in order to conquer emotional eating. It's about getting in touch with our bodies, enjoying our food, and stopping BEFORE we get full.
Like most skills, it requires practice and takes time to develop. This past weekend, I ate an apple with the intention of focusing on being mindful. I chewed each bite 30-40 times, paused after each bite, and actually tasted the sweet flavor in each bite. I also assessed how hungry I was after each bite. What happened next was amazing...Out of 8 slices, I only finished 5. This is something that typically happens when we eat mindfully. We don't finish all the food on our plate because we stop before we get full. We typically eat with our eyes instead of our listening to our bodies when it tells us to stop. Most of us will eat until we finish all the food on our plate, which is typically beyond the point of satisfaction. Eating mindfully will completely transform your eating experience. That was the most delicious apple I'd ever eaten!
If you have a tendency to inhale your food or clean off your plate, try to eat just ONE meal mindfully today. That means slowing down your eating and really enjoying your food. Make sure you're sitting down and you're relaxed. Take 2 or 3 deep breaths before taking that first bite. Close your eyes if it helps. Open your eyes and take your first bite. Try to chew at least 20 times so that you're pre-digesting your food. This means that your body won't have to work as hard digesting since you've already done most of the work in your mouth. This leads to favorable results like more energy and less stomach discomfort. Newsflash: You should be ENERGIZED after you eat! If you are ready for a nap after a meal, you most likely ate too much and now all of your body's energy is focusing on digesting your food which leaves little energy for anything else.
How did you do? Did you get full before you cleared your plate? Did your food taste different? Once you've mastered one meal per day, try eating mindfully for two meals. Eventually, you'll be eating all of your meals mindfully and not only will you enjoy your food more, but you'll also improve your relationship with food in ways you'd never imagined. Let me know how you did!