Can you remember the last thing you ate? Did you eat it with mindful awareness or did it slip down without much attention? Do you eat whilst working or watching the TV? Maybe you’ve gone to take another sip of your drink and realise that it’s all gone? Or you go to eat another crisp and realise the packet is empty. This is eating mindlessly or on auto-pilot where we are thinking of other things.
We can change this by becoming more mindful whilst we eat or drink. The next time you go to eat something try to do it mindfully. Look at the food first. Imagine that this is the first time that you’ve seen it. Notice the colours, shapes, textures or patterns. Become aware of any feelings you have about eating it. Take a piece or a forkful and bring it slowly up towards your mouth. Savour any smells that are present. Is your mouth now watering?
Notice how you feel again. Slowly put the piece or mouthful of food into your mouth. Bring your awareness to the sensations on your tongue. Begin to slowly move the food around your mouth and start chewing. Notice the sensations in your teeth and the saliva in your mouth. Does your stomach feel different as it anticipates the arrival of this food? When you are ready, swallow the food. See if you can feel it as it heads towards your stomach. Once again, notice how you feel.
This is probably very different to how you normally eat. If you have time, repeat this exercise again with the next piece or mouthful. See if you can eat a whole meal this way. It can be quite a challenge. You may end up eating less this way because you have noticed the sensations in your body and enjoyed the food, rather than mindlessly shovelling it in!
You can expand on this to mindfully cook your food. For example, take in all the colours of the vegetables as you place them on your chopping board. Feel the sensations in your hands as you peel, slice or chop them. Become aware of the sounds that are being made. Bring your awareness to all of your sensations as you start to cook your food. Pay particular attention to the smells as the food cooks. Be aware of your body as it responds to these sensations and starts to anticipate eating the food.
You can even think about where the food came from, where it was grown and how it got to the supermarket etc.
Enjoy your next meal! 🙂