Mindful eating is the practice of being fully present and aware of your food, your body, and your surroundings while eating. It involves paying attention to the taste, texture, and smell of the food, as well as the sensations in your body that arise from eating. Mindful eating also involves being aware of your thoughts and emotions around food, and making conscious choices about what, when and how much you eat.
In today's fast-paced world, people often eat on the go or while multitasking, which can lead to mindless eating. This can result in overeating, poor digestion, and weight gain. The practice of mindful eating, on the other hand, helps you slow down and enjoy your food, which can lead to improved digestion, better nutrition, and a healthier relationship with food.
If you are craving sweets you can certainly wait out the craving, substitute with something naturally sweet or you can allow yourself to have that piece of cake with attention and mindfulness. Allowing removes the shame and blame from our protective personality or inner critic. We also remove the restrictions and change the narrative of "I can't" to "I choose".
For this exercise you will need two grapes cut in half and two potato chips. Set it aside on a plate and put the rest away. It will be important to do this exercise when you are not hungry.
1. Sit comfortably and follow your breath for 20 to 30 breaths.
2. Take a grape and hold it a few inches from your nose and smell it. Notice the scent and your response.
3. Next, place the grape half in your mouth and close your eyes. Before you bite into it, spend a couple of minutes rolling it around in your mouth. Notice textures, flavors and your response. Are you salivating yet?
4. Bite into the grape just once. Describe its flavors.
5. Slowly begin to chew the grape. Do not swallow. Again, note the flavor and texture of the grape. Before swallowing, allow the grape to rest on your tongue. What do you notice?
6. Swallow. At this point, check in with yourself, savor the taste, and then ask yourself, "Am I satisfied or would you like to have another grape? If you want more, pick up another grape half and repeat the above steps.
7. Expand your awareness to your entire body. Note any changes or feelings.
8. Now pick up a potato chip and smell it. Close your eyes. Describe its smell.
9. Taste the chip without biting into the chip. Notice the salty flavor. Sit with these flavors on your tongue and check in with yourself.
10. Next, take a single bite. Chew it and move it around in your mouth. Once you notice a change in texture you may swallow.
11. Take that second bit and continue to chew slowly. Observe the change in texture and flavor. Continue the exercise with your full presence and awareness.
Spend some time journaling your experience. Did you experience satiety? Note any feelings or emotions that came up with the grape. The chip?
Mindful eating is a simple yet powerful practice that can help improve eating habits. So the next time you sit down to eat or have that piece of cake, take a moment to practice mindful eating and discover how it can benefit you.