- by Jared
Here are a few ways you can start to practice mindful eating.
1 – Just A Few Mindful Bites – let’s be real here eating a full mindful meal might be too much to ask in the beginning start off with just a few undistracted bites
2 – Use Your Mouth To Notice Tastes and Textures – to practice mindful eating pay attention to the distinct tastes and textures
3 – Try Chewing Slowly – just chew more slowly and you’ll naturally be more mindful
4 – Explore Your Preferences – you have the freedom to eat foods you like, but you need to taste and discover these foods for yourself!
To see Pinterest ‘training’ images visit my pinterest page at –https://www.pinterest.com/eating_enlightenment/boards/
How To Eat Mindfully Backstory and Context:
On the surface mindful eating is very simple. You already know how to eat mindfully. The hard part is actually eating mindfully.
Frequently, you might not have sufficient motivation to discipline yourself to eat mindfully.
Eating mindfully can seem like a chore, a burden that slows you down and doesn’t bring you much benefits.
Let’s be real here, 10 minutes of chewing food slowly in the middle of a work day and quietly feeling your body while not looking at your phone…
This ‘ learning how to eat mindfully’ is a very tall order for people.
Unfortunately, this monk like description of mindful eating is what many people believe of mindful eating.
I myself for years believed this was mindful eating too. When I lived as a monk, we would eat our meals and silence out of bowls. so eating mindfully happened very naturally. Of course, we didn’t have phones so having no distractions made mindful eating easier too.
Fortunately though, you do not have to eat in silence for 10 minutes to benefit from mindful eating.
There are many ways you can benefit from practical, everyday mindful eating practices.
Benefits of Learning How To Eat Mindfully
Yet before going into some of the ways you can practice mindful eating during your day today life, the most important thing we can do right now is actually to put mindful eating in context.
For most people, mindful eating is not in context. Just eating silently doesn’t connect with someone’s inner values.
So to connect with our inner values we have to put mindful eating in context.
First for starters, a very helpful mindset is realizing that binge eating and emotional eating often times occur on automatic.
When you are automatically eating, you are not tasting your food at all. Sometimes you’ll eat and then forget what you ate or even forget that you ate at all.
So from this perspective, why not taste your food? After all, You’re eating this food to avoid emotions right? So it would make sense to taste the food right? I mean, you’re eating this food anyways, so why not enjoy the food?
This sounds very paradoxical. Yet, by making a conscious effort to taste your food and giving yourself full emotional permission to taste food, you actually greatly decrease the power that food has over you.
This is a win-win situation you must embrace.
Food has power over you only because you numb out and disconnect and go on automatic pilot when you eat food.
So when you mindfully eat, you win in many ways. You are tasting the food more and that is a good thing. And you are also stopping automatic eating which is also a good thing. So it’s a total win win.
Also, please keep in mind that mindful eating comes in context of unconditional eating.
Unconditional eating is very important part of mindful eating!
That even if you are eating something that is traditionally thought of as bad, you can still practice mindful eating because you have given yourself emotional permission to eat this food.
So even if you are eating something bad, you don’t need to judge yourself and label the food is bad. That’s judgment, not mindfulness. When you judge your food you don’t taste your food you actually are just on automatic pilot.
So in mindful eating, no matter what foods we are eating, we aim to try to taste our foods.
Remember, you mind as well enjoy it. This is the essence of mindful eating.
Have the attitude that you mind as well enjoy what you are eating, no matter how healthy or unhealthy the food is.
The real benefit is stopping automatic pilot eating.
Now I must warn you about something. When you start to eat mindfully, you may start to notice that foods actually don’t taste good.
This is a very common phenomenon. For years you may have eaten chips or cookies or pizza and thought you liked the food. Yet then you start mindfully eating and you realize that the food doesn’t taste good.
What’s up with this phenomenon?
What’s happening is that you are no longer getting the benefit of emotional numbing. Previously, you would distract yourself with the food and the benefit of this was emotional numbing.
I made another video you can watch here about changing your emotional reactions – because that’s exactly what we’re talking about.
If you were feeling sad or stressed out, this feeling would temporarily be avoided as you ate food. This is a huge benefit and cannot be overlooked or underestimated.
It can actually bring up great sadness and a sense of grieving when you begin to taste foods and realize that these foods don’t taste good.
You need to expect that this might come up, and that it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong.
And finally the last of mindset of mindful eating is what you think it is.
It is the benefits of slowing down, the benefits of tasting your food and enjoying your food, it’s shifting your perspective…
The bottom line is that you should always taste your food. You don’t always need to slow down. But eating with some sort of presence is always good.