Eating Mindfully

When I write our weekly challenges I try to find a balance between challenges involving exercise, eating and mind set. This week’s challenge involves the third as we work on habits of mindful eating.

Please start by watching this video:

There is quite a bit of research and some really great books on this practice of eating mindfully. I believe that one of the reasons we tend to overeat is that we are not making the effort to receive the pleasure and fulfillment that we should receive when we do eat. As you saw in the video Lilian Cheung shares these habits of mindful eating.

1. Honor the food- We take food for granted in a land of abundance. We usually don’t think about where the food is coming from. I was talking with some young single adults recently about keeping our prayers before meals from becoming “vain repetition”. One young man shared that one way he does this is by taking the time to really think about and appreciate all that has taken place in order to provide him with the abundance and variety of the food set before him.  He remembers the farmer, the harvester, the transporter, the grocer, the cook and even the good company that surrounds him. I do think being more mindful through grace can help us be more mindful in eating.
2. Engage all your senses- Take the time to savor your food more fully. Look at the beauty of the food, inhale the aroma, notice the texture and even listen for the sound of your food. Oft times our eating on the run can keep us from being fully engaged as we eat our food.  Take the time to fully use your senses!
3. Be mindful of portion sizes. Do not take too much. Start with a modest amount. The video suggests using a smaller plate or bowl. Another strategy is to target a small area of your plate for calorie dense foods (meat, starches) and the larger area of your plate to nutrient dense foods (vegetables, fruit).
4. Chew.Chewing actually helps us to digest. The enzymes in our saliva help us do that. Also the taste comes from having the food in our mouth cavity surrounding the tongue. Once we swallow we no longer taste. Chew more. Enjoy the taste and flavor of your food more and you will have less of a desire to overeat.
5. Do not to skip meals. Sometimes life gets hectic and it seems to make sense to just skip a meal and skip the calories. But this can backfire when hunger and fatigue lead to eating high-calorie low-nutrient foods with abandon.
6. Eat plants based diet. The video mentions that research has shown that eating meat increases risk of colon cancer. There are many other reasons to cut down on your meat intake. Consider going meat free one day a week or one meal each day.

Our challenge for this week is to use at least one mindful eating habit each day. And I challenge you to challenge yourself! Don’t pick the easiest habit or one that you are already doing. Pick one that will invite you to step it up in mindful eating. You can work on the same habit all week or choose a different one for each day. But work on at least one mindful eating habit that you honestly feel will benefit you through the effort.

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