4 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
Reality Of Not Practicing Mindful Eating
At a stoplight the other day, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a woman taking rhythmic bites out of an enormous fast food burger while waiting for the light to change. In an almost trancelike state, she brought the burger up to her mouth for the next bite while staring straight ahead. I looked to my left and in the lane next to me was a man eating a burrito wrapped in silvery foil. His eyes seemed to periodically follow the stream of spillage that rained into his lap. These situations demonstrate the opposite of mindful eating.
Distracted driving is frequently headline news. Cellphones and texting are common culprits for today’s drivers taking their eyes off the road. What about eating? Just like a cellphone in hand, a big gulp drink in the cup holder and a burger and fries in one’s lap, our cars have become a convenient dining room table on wheels.
Eating and driving is the antithesis of mindful eating – just rote hand-to-mouth motions while attempting to still navigate the road. We necessarily lose the pleasurable sensory aspects of food.
Quick, Easy Tips To Mindful Eating
While many of us may not frequently “dine” in our cars, the same behaviors are commonplace in front of the computer screen at our desks, tablet and television. I believe there is a middle ground between sitting in monastic silence as the bites echo in your head and the robotic shoveling of food into our bodies. This week:
- Pay attention before you start eating – take time to use a plate or a bowl.
- Eat with your eyes. Make sure there is color in your meal – rich greens of lettuce added to a sandwich; deep reds from cherry tomatoes on the side and lovely oranges from the seasonal Cutie clementines. It makes a difference.
- Connect with the first bite – take all it has to offer – and remind yourself “I’m eating”.
- Create a half time – put your fork down; your sandwich back on the plate; your soup spoon down. Sit back in your chair, look at your food and re-connect one more time.
This week, move into the slow lane and take a break. Let meal times be a little more mindful. Celebrate what you are eating by giving the food in front of you your somewhat divided attention.