Mindful eating is increasingly being recognised as a way of controlling mindless excessive eating as well as helping those with eating disorders such as binge eating and anorexia nervosa. It is based on the Buddhist notion of being very aware of what is happening at the present time, enjoying that feeling but not making judgments.
My Top Ten Tips for Mindful Eating:
- Take pleasure in planning your meals and snacks; make sure you have the ingredients to hand to make what you have planned so that you don’t have to fall back on whatever is around!
- Don’t leave preparing your meal until you are absolutely ravenous; so that you don’t gorge everything in sight! You should arrive at your meal feeling a little hungry but not famished!
- Enjoy preparing your food, even if it is putting a topping on some rice cakes; try and make it as a creative art and pleasing to look at, for example, add some garnish for colour.
- When you can, lay a place for yourself to eat; adding napkin, place mat and even flowers if you like! Use a nice plate but if you are trying to cut down on your intake , use a smaller plate!
- Allow yourself at least 20 minutes to sit and eat and don’t do anything else but eat. So no TV, computer, smart-phone or even a newspaper.
- Now really notice each mouthful as you eat; chew thoroughly and really notice the flavour and texture of your food, but don’t judge the food as good or bad!
- If your mind wonders, bring it back to the here and now. For example, think about how that food arrived at your plate, from farm, maybe food manufacturer, shop and then your preparation of it.
- Now think about whether the food you eat is nourishing you in the way you need; it could be your senses, your body or both.
- Notice how full you are feeling and stop when you feel pleasantly satisfied but not stuffed!
- When you have eaten clear away your meal. Try not to think of this as a chore but just the completion of the meal and while you do it think about how nice it was, how you feel and how much you will enjoy the process again when the next meal or snack comes along!