When you are eating your food, when was last time you really stopped what you are doing, sat yourself down with your meal and concentrated hard on the taste, flavour, texture and delicate subtleties of what you are eating? Perhaps you eat on the go or even reach for a magazine or your iPhone to check out Facebook during meals. If you are doing this then learning the art of Mindfulness is for you.
Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment and you will see it cropping up more and more everywhere. At Bulimia Help we have been promoting the benefits of Mindful Eating for years, in fact ever since our website launched back in 2007 we were on the bandwagon with this and many were using our Guided Eating Audio at the time to help create a calm and focus during meal times.
Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practise and its a simple concept that basically means paying attention to the present moment. Being mindful helps to train our attention span. Did you know that our minds actually wander about 50% of the time! You can help this from happening by exercising your attention to the present moment allowing your brain to become mentally fitter. We are able to learn to take control over our focus and choose to be in the moment rather than passive of this.
So what is Mindful eating?
It’s simple, mindful Eating is being mindful of when you are eating and becoming aware and present in the moment. You will be aware of what exactly you are doing and will be paying attention to the food itself – for example the flavour, taste and textures and how you feel at the time of eating.
People put themselves through so much stress when it comes to food. Instead of focusing on the food itself when eating they think about the numbers, nutritional value, weight gain or all the other dramas in their life.
So, it’s time to stop, slow down and reassess our thought process and learn the art of Mindful Eating.
Being Mindful can help reclaim true feelings of hunger and satiety. This is something that can be lost with years of dieting or years of living with an eating disorder. Bulimia especially can dull down this natural response. You can get it back, it just takes a little practise.
Ok, so let’s work through the steps of Mindful Eating.
So pick a meal time to practise this with. Prepare your food and follow the steps.
Step 1. Take a deep breath in and calm your mind. Now take a moment and focus on your own body. How does your hunger feel and can you rate it? Are you just a little hungry or are you really hungry? feel the sensations of hunger and take a mental note.
Step 2. Get rid of any distractions, mobile phones off! TV off etc.
Step 3. Adjust the lighting, make your setting a comfortable place to eat.
Step 4. Set yourself a place at the dinner table – if you have one.
Step 5. Play some soothing music if you wish.
Step 6. Begin eating your meal. Really focus on the taste, the colours, the flavours of the food. Focus on the textures! Keep your focus there with each and every bite. Stop between mouthfuls and take a few breathes in. Go back to your meal being mindful as it’s so easy for your mind to wonder.
Step 7. Pay attention to any feelings of fullness. Sometimes it takes some time after your meal for the satisfaction feelings to kick in. Keep focused on your body until you feel full or satisfied and take a mental note of this.
Ok so try to follow the steps and see how you get on. It can take a little practise but it really can help.
Print out the little diagram if you wish and pin it to your fridge if it helps.
Best of luck with your Mindful Eating.