If you can relate to any of these scenarios then I highly recommend you keep reading.
BREAKFAST: Rush out the door; stop at a local café to pick up a coffee and muffin; take sips and bites at the traffic lights on the way to work.
LUNCH: Seated behind the computer screen with a sandwich in one hand and the mouse in the other; taking bites whilst checking emails and surfing the internet.
DINNER: Quickly throw together a meal and sit down on the couch with eyes on the TV and dinner on your lap.
Not the best practices to pursue.
When it comes to eating, mindfulness helps to strengthen your body’s signals so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full. Have you ever been watching TV or working on the computer whilst eating something, only to look down and discover in disbelief that there is nothing left on the plate? I have, and it annoys me right to the bone – there I was looking oh so very well forward to indulging in that piece of chocolate cake, and I have no conscious memory of taking the last bite. What a waste!
Whilst eating is primarily a source to nourish our body and provide energy, the added side-benefit is the multitude of yummy taste sensations that we are rewarded with. So why not take the time to set aside 15 – 30 minutes for all you meals and truly savor each bite?
Benefits of Mindful Eating
You never know, this simple act may help you to realise that you don’t need to eat that much after all. Maybe all those years of blindly putting the fork to mouth is one of the causes for those extra and unwanted kilos.
It would appear that Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, thinks so. His book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think details how best to reduce our poor eating habits by becoming more mindful of our choices and influences.
Taking this concept of mindfulness one step further, there’s a scene in the book Like Water for Chocolate that is a lovely little reminder for all of us to be mindful of the energy that we exude whilst cooking. The story revolves around a young woman, her cooking, and how her emotions fuse into the food she is making, resulting in a strange effect on those that consume it.
Ok, so it’s a fictitious novel, but dare I say there is a hint of truth between those lines.
Speaking from personal experience, food always tastes better when I am truly enjoying the act of cooking; being present; and extending my loving energy to each stir of the pot. It may sound a little bit “far-fetched” but aren’t we simply considering the concept of energy transference? That is, when one form of energy (kinetic energy, potential energy, chemical energy) is changed into another energy (chemical energy, kinetic energy, sound energy). And aren’t our emotions just a form of energy?
Still not with me? Ok… so how about meditation and the art of being mindful in every action that you do, so that you can be “zen” (calm, quiet and balanced) in even the most menial task?
What if your meal times were used as an opportunity to also relax and quieten the mind? Surely this would help cultivate a more productive, peaceful and energetic day.
So why not set yourself a “mini goal” for the week to ensure at least one meal a day, is spent eating mindfully. Next week move to two and the following week try for three. After a month, you will notice how eating becomes a wonderful experience rather than a mindless action.
Click here to read the version on SpringDay