I've been doing alot of research and reading on being mindful and mindfulness recently and really exploring the benefits it can have on my health and my body. I admit when it became the 'in thing' I had my doubts and almost dismissed it as mumbo jumbo but over the last 12 months I've become a lot more open-minded and stopped seeing things purely as black and white and started exploring the context and colours around them.
Although I'm a newbie to yoga and meditation and still finding my path, it's a journey that I'm progressing on very quickly as more and more things seem to click and fall into place and it makes me realise that I've been missing out on my life for so long that I'm finally getting somewhere!
Which leads me onto mindful eating. The not too distant past saw a calorie counting, macro tracking obsessed person who sat with her nose in myfitnesspal while inhaling her meal of 40% protein, 30% fat and 30% carbs. Not enjoying my food, not enjoying nourishing my body and certainly not taking the time to relax and enjoy mealtimes. I was eating on autopilot, mostly on the go, standing up or while doing 100 other things at once.
Since ditching the obsessive tracking and counting and falling into the intuitive camp I've also become a big ambassador of mindful eating. Mindful eating in it's extreme is linked back to Buddhist monks. They eat in silence, savouring and really tasting each mouthful. I haven't taken it to this level and there's no need to be this extreme with eating. I'm trying to incorporate the art of mindfulness into some of my mealtimes to really think about connecting with my body and enjoying my food, while nourishing my body in the best possible way, with what it needs as opposed to what a coach or meal plan thinks it needs.
Here are a few tips you can try to make your mealtimes a bit more mindful:
1). Turn off your phone- or put it away while you eat. Don't look at emails or social media. With all distractions out of the way you can really concentrate on eating and enjoying every mouthful.
2). Eat at a table. Take the time to stop what you're doing and sit down to specifically eat your meal. It sounds silly but we are so caught up with working or doing other things that we eat either on the go or standing up. By setting aside even 10 minutes to eat a meal we are shutting everything else off and setting aside the time for ourselves and our body.
3) Eat slowly and avoid overeating. Be aware of each mouthful and stop when you are satisfied. Sounds obvious? If our plate is full we often unconciously keep on eating until we are stuffed but if we eat slowly and mindfully our body will let us know when it's satisfied.
Try these tips once a week for one meal and see how you get on. Mindful eating isn't meant to make you obsessed, exactly the opposite. If you want something on the go, have it. If you want a treat while out and about then indulge, mindful eating is to encourage us to really listen to our bodies and nourish them in the way they need to nourished. There is no right or wrong, no one size fits all. What my body wants may not work for you. It takes time and patience to figure out intuitive eating but once you truly listen to your body it's not as hard as it sounds!