Often I’m told this time of year: “Why bother thinking about mindful eating. I just want to have as much as I want…” or “I have absolutely no willpower. I just LOVE food too much…” or “I’m just going to skip lunch to save up for the big family dinner…” There seems to be this thought that mindful eating and enjoying eating are mutually exclusive. But this is so far from the truth!
Mindful eating is actually about enjoying food MORE, not less.
It’s about making empowered, guilt-free choices around food, not restricting and feeling like certain foods are “off limits.” And, it’s about using food in a way that makes you feel good, for the long-term, not just for a brief moment.
Here are 5 mindful eating tips to help you enjoy food MORE this holiday season:
#1: Slow down.
When you are on the go, mindless eating happens and guilt can follow shortly after. When you slow down you create a pause. Take 3 deep breaths and say to yourself “I choose responsive eating, not reactive eating.”
#2: Tune into your mind and body.
Get to know yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts first and the state of your mind (busy? stressed? relaxed? calm?). Then get grounded. Get present in your body. Feel your feet on the floor and your breath moving inside your body. This sounds simple, but takes practice. To make intuitive and mindful food choices, you need to BE in your body and not feeling stuck in the stress of the mind.
#3: Observe: what part of you is hungry?
- Is your mind hungry? Are you thinking “I should eat this food,” or “I need to have some pie; otherwise, Aunt Jane will be offended.”
- Are your eyes hungry? Does the food just look good and that’s why you want it? What about it is pleasing?
- Is your nose hungry? Are you tempted by the smell? Is smelling it enough?
- How about your mouth? Will the food taste good? Is that why you want it?
- Is you heart hungry? Are you feeling excited, anxious, sad, bored, or some other emotion? Is that why you are turning to food?
- Is your stomach hungry? Are you experiencing growling in the stomach and the need to fuel up?
- Are your cells hungry? Can you just sense that you need a specific nutrient in your body?
#4: See the possibilities.
Notice and be grateful for your right to choose. Once you know what part of you is hungry, you can decide what you really want in a more empowered way. Look at all the options available to you at the table. Decide to eat (or not to eat) based on your discoveries about the part of you that’s hungry.
#5: Savour your food.
Take small bites and really pay attention to the taste, texture, and experience of eating. Enjoy every moment, and when you’re done eating, move on. If you’d like to practice mindfully savouring your food, try this mindful eating meditation:
Mindful eating can help you feel FREE with food and learn to nurture your body’s wisdom. It’s the anti-diet joyful way to eat well, for good!
The next Fuel, Flavour, Fun! 21-Day Mindful Eating Challenge is coming up quick! It’s starts on January 4th and is going to be AWESOME. If you’re looking to end eating overwhelm in 2016 and ease into enlightened action, this challenge is for you!