- It’s time to eat
- You’re bored
- It smells great
- It’s free
- You’re stressed
Eating is one of the great pleasures in life. It smells great, it has a wonderful texture in your mouth, it tastes wonderful, it warms or cools you, it makes your belly feel satiated.
But for most people, eating is a mindless activity. Sure the first couple of bites taste wonderful, but then the food disappears from your conscious mind. If you are eating with someone else, you are probably conversing. If you are by yourself, maybe you’re watching TV, reading, driving, texting, or even standing and doing something else entirely. In other words, eating is an activity that you can easily do while multi-tasking.
Eating actually gives you some of the best opportunities in life to DE-stress! That’s right, eating can be stress relief if done correctly. Instead of using eating as a reaction to stress, boredom and other negative emotions, you can turn the table. Use MINDFUL eating as an conscious exercise that will relieve stress!
That’s right – by just focusing mindfully on your food, it becomes like a meditation. Eat slowly, put down your fork. Look inward and focus on the taste of the food on your tongue. What kind of texture does it have? Where do you chew it? Make sure you chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing (this will help your digestion as well!). Consider if you normally eat faster than during this practice.
Just like with meditation, you will probably realize that it’s hard to keep your focus on your food and not think about what you have to do later, or any other random thoughts. But as soon as you realize that you are thinking about something other than your food, be gentle with yourself, and go back to focusing on enjoying your food.
When you slow down and take your time to eat, you are also giving your stomach a chance to feel full. So make sure you also focus on your feelings of satiation. Most people eat everything that’s on their dish, rather than paying attention to their stomach’s signals of fullness. But when you are eating mindfully, you will find you probably eat less- NOT because you are trying to eat less, but because you notice that you actually feel full before the plate is empty!
For more mindful tips, my ebook gives you ways to eat less and be totally satiated. I NEVER encourage you to stop eating unless you are feeling satiated. This doesn’t mean STUFFED, it means comfortable. It can take 20 minutes to for your stomach to give you that feeling, so when you slow down, you’ll end up needing to eat less!
Please comment: What makes YOU eat from stress, and what is your comfort food of choice?