5 STEPS TO MINDFUL EATING

“True love is a lack of desire to check one’s smartphone in another’s presence.”

– Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation

How do you spend your meals? Are you on your phone or laptop, scrolling through social media, or watching TV to binge on Netflix? Are you using any technology while eating? If so, you’re likely eating mindlessly. The opposite of being mindful is being mindless, if that helps you better understand the concept of mindfulness. I think we can all relate to the act of eating mindlessly, without even considering the food that we’re eating – we find we eat for the act of eating.

Being “mindful” while you eat simply means that you are present in the current moment of eating — you aren’t dwelling on your thoughts about anything else (bills, errands, to-do lists, or random thoughts such as “Did I turn the stove off?,” “Did I feed the dog?”). Of course, your thoughts cannot be banished since that is practically impossible for many of us – we’re humans, after all. However, when those thoughts arise, you simply acknowledge them and let them go instead of dwelling on them and allowing those thoughts to consume you and conjure emotions or feelings.

Thoughts are not tangible things, nor are they reality, so why give them power over you?

When those thoughts arise, you simply acknowledge them and let them go instead of dwelling on them and allowing those thoughts to consume you and conjure emotions or feelings.

Trying to focus on the present moment allows us to truly embrace it and to fully enjoy our meal while eating. It even allows us to enjoy the company we may have during our meal. It also allows us to eat more slowly, which helps us avoid overeating.

In our fast-paced and technology-driven society, the act of eating is seen more as a chore than as a source of enjoyment. Let’s try to make the act of eating less like a “task,” or something we need to cross-off on our to-do list.

Thoughts are not tangible things, nor are they reality, so why give them power over you?

Fortunately, we can work to reduce our mindlessness while we eat, and I developed a simple five-step way to help you practice eating mindfully. To help guide your meals, keep these five steps in mind while you eat. These steps may be simple, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re easy — they take patience and practice since we are in such a fast-paced world. Let’s get started!

The Five-S Plan

Sit

Smile & Say Thanks

See

Smell

Savor

Let’s dive into these steps a bit further.

Sit

Try not to stand while eating unless you sit all day and standing feels good to you. Take a seat and relax!

Smile & Say Thanks

Smile because you’re getting ready to eat, and smiling makes you feel good no matter what your mood is prior to the meal. You should also smile because you’re grateful for the meal in front of you. Send out a ‘thank you’ and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that you have that meal in front of you. You work hard to put food on the table, including the extra time you spend to make the meal (whether it’s pre-packaged or not), so enjoy it. Gratitude is an awesome vibe, so send that out into the world, and I bet it’ll come back to you two-fold. A small feeling of gratitude never hurt anyone. Be thankful for the meal in front of you, because not everyone has access to food like you do. If praying is your jam, then pray, but just the act of showing gratitude shifts your mind to a more positive direction.

See

Look at your food. Look at the presentation, including all the colors and textures of each of the ingredients of your meal.

Smell

Have no shame… go ahead and stick your face into your food and smell! Enjoy the aromas! See if you can notice any of the different spices and ingredients that were used.

Savor

Load a small bite onto your fork, spoon, hand, or whatever, and take a bite. Chew slowly. By slow, I mean give yourself a minimum of 20-30 chews to chew that single bite. If you don’t want to count your chews, that’s cool – simply chew until there aren’t any “lumps” in your bite of food. Don’t half-chew that bite of food and then shove another forkful into your mouth even though you haven’t swallowed your previous bite, either (I’m guilty of this one). This is more difficult than you think it is! Take. Your. Time. Eating.

Follow these steps as best as you can, and as often as you are able, because it takes some practice to incorporate this into your hectic day. Please realize that there will be times when it is difficult to follow the Five-S Plan, and that’s okay. This is not about perfection! Perfectly following the Five-S Plan isn’t necessary at every meal; just try to practice it as much as you are able.

THE CHALLENGE

Go ahead and try these simple steps to eating more mindfully at your next meal. You may even find that following these steps makes your food taste better and more flavorful because you’ve minimized the distractions while eating, focusing all your senses on the food in front of you. (Not to mention that your friends, family, and/or significant other may love being around you more because you’ll be paying attention to them and truly listening to them instead of finding yourself distracted by your technology or shoveling food into your mouth, which is always sexy.)

This week, I challenge you to set some parameters around your meals. Make mealtime a “no screen zone” and engage in conversation with your friends and family while you eat, or enjoy listening to some music while you eat if you’re eating by yourself.

What if you’re trying to remember the Five-S Plan in a moment of hunger and can’t remember a single step? That’s okay – just focus on eating slowly and savoring every bite. Keep it simple and enjoy the journey.


INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?

Interested in learning more about eating mindfully? Comment below or email me, and I’d be more than happy to help you make sense of it all. 

Alternatively, if you’re interested in flexible eating and having your macronutrients personally calculated for you to meet your goals, or having a customized nutrition plan built just for you and paired with attentive coaching, then check-out my Services page first to see what I offer. Message me and we can arrange a time to chat for a free consultation.

HERE’S TO BETTER TASTING FOOD AND BETTER RELATIONSHIPS!

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