So you'd like to try mindful eating? Here’s a simple practice to get you started.
Sit quietly and comfortably with your food in front of you. We’ll begin by taking three long, slow deep breaths.
On the first breath, breath in through your nose, bringing your attention to any aromas that may be coming from your food. Breathe out, releasing any tension or stress you may be holding in your body.
On the second breath, breathe in again, and bring your attention to your mood right now. Notice how you’re feeling in this moment. Are you here, or miles away, lost in your thoughts? Gently let the breath go and breathe out, releasing any tension or stress that’s still within you.
Breathe in the third breath, long and slow, and feast your eyes on the food before you, noticing the colours, textures and shapes. Breathe slowly out, relaxing even further.
Now, breathe normally, and tell yourself, ‘I choose to relax right now, and enjoy eating this food’. Allow yourself to celebrate this pause you've taken, just to nourish yourself and experience the pleasure of eating.
Now, take a mouthful of the food. Notice anything and everything you can about how it feels in your mouth – the flavours, the textures, the moisture or dryness. Notice whether the experience is pleasant or otherwise.
Continue eating, eating each mouthful slowly and with focused attention. Notice how the feelings in your body change as your hunger is satiated and you become full. Finish eating when your body tells you you’ve had enough – even if there’s still food left on the plate.
Before leaving your seat, take a moment to fill your heart with gratitude for the simple fact that you have food to eat. Reflect on the knowledge that food that is a gift from nature, and from the many people who contributed to its production by growing, tending, harvesting and preparing it. Consider how interconnected we are to the earth and to each other.
Research shows that mindful eating has many benefits for wellness including:
More positive relationship with food
Higher rates of physical activity
Reduced binge eating
Smaller portion sizes
Higher body acceptance
Increased confidence in your ability to make good choices
Less preoccupation with body image
Reduced emotional eating
More pleasure from nourishing foods
If you'd like some personalised support on your wellness journey, you can learn more about coaching options here.