Around the holidays, food seems to be everywhere. Then, when the new year comes along, resolutions for weight loss become popular.
Sometimes food is used for comfort. It’s a brief moment of joy in a world of sadness.
Whether you’re always dreaming of what you want to eat or you’ve just been to one too many family events this year, the solution to the expanding waist line could be mindfulness. I find that when I’m more aware of the world around me as I eat, I’m more conscious of the reasons why I am eating.
I also pay more attention to what food goes into my mouth.
If you’re thinking about how to apply mindfulness to your eating habits, here are the 5 steps I follow with every meal.
#1. Give thanks.
I think it is important to be grateful for a meal. Not everyone gets three meals per day in our world. Food is often taken for granted. Whether you say grace, thank the universe for its bounty, or have another spiritual or personal ritual that you follow, embrace it. Be present in that moment.
#2. Get rid of the distractions.
I used to like to watch the news while I ate dinner. I felt like I was multitasking. Then I realized that I stopped caring about what I was eating because I was more concerned about what was on the TV. Maybe for you it’s the smartphone. Or it could be the internet. It could be this very article. Whatever the case may be, I’ve found that by getting rid of the distractions, it becomes easier to enjoy the food being eaten and that makes every meal more satisfying.
#3. Use all of your senses.
Eating is more than just flavor. It’s even more than just its smell. How the food looks, what it feels like, and even its savory components are extremely important to the eating experience. Allow your body to enjoy every moment of a meal with every sense. For me, I’ve found that embracing umami, the sixth tasting sense, has really helped me to stay present in the moment. Find what can work for you in this area and your approach to mindfulness will change.
#4. Have the courage to stop.
This one is simple. Once you feel full, stop eating. I grew up in a home where you had to clear your plate in order to be excused from the table. Allowing myself to be finished with a meal where there was still food present was one of the toughest things I’ve ever taught myself to do.
The opposite is also true. If you’re still hungry, then get more food. The goal is to be satisfied.
#5. Keep a journal of what you eat.
By understanding what you eat, it becomes easier to control how much weight you are able to lose – or gain. Sometimes we eat certain things without giving them a second thought. I’m that way with certain candies. If you keep a journal, then you become more aware of what you are eating… and that allows you to make healthier decisions.
How do you stay mindful when eating? Do you have any tips that have helped you stay present in the moment while you improve your eating habits?