Mindful Eating

Food & Family | Mindfulness | Wellbeing

All you need is love. But a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt – Charles M Schultz

How often can you honestly say that you eat your food mindfully? Think for a moment how you eat your food. Do you taste, savour and enjoy your food, or do you wolf it down on the hoof? I am betting that for most it is the latter.

Mindful eating is an integral part of the mindfulness journey and is a strange experience when you first encounter it. The concept of taking a piece of food and noticing how it looks, its texture and its smell before it reaches your mouth to savour it fully before swallowing is just not how we are conditioned to eat as we get older, but mindful eating is how we all began to be introduced to food as small children.

If you watch a child who is being weaned on to solid food you will see that she will pick it up, look at it, lick it, poke it, spit it out and consider it (and quite often throw it). I can remember as a child being told not to rush my food and oddly when I think back to family Sunday lunches now I can still taste my mothers roast potatoes, cooked around the joint. How many times do you reflect back on a food and think “that takes me back”. The fact that you remember that experience means you were, at that time, eating mindfully.

I, like so many other people, have let my eating become mindless. I am an emotional eater and when things get tough I throw caution to the wind and stuff my face. I just don’t care, I don’t consider the consequences at the time but then feel terrible afterwards.

One of the most important things you can learn on your mindfulness journey is to understand what kind of eater you are. Are you an emotional eater, are you a picker, are you conditioned to clean your plate even if you are full, do you reach for the salty snacks when you have had too many drinks? Once you begin to understand your eating patterns then you can begin to unlearn some of your bad habits and begin to savour and appreciate your food again.

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