Time for some truth serum… Do you eat lunch at your desk? Eat dinner in front of the TV? Snack while scrolling through your social media feed?
Eating well isn’t just about what we eat, it’s about tapping into our senses and really listening to our body.
You might have heard of or practiced mindfulness before, we like to refer to it as the act of slowing down to stop and smell the roses. It can literally rewire the brain for increased happiness, wellbeing and productivity. Love this!
So if we bring this back to the way we eat, how can we be more conscious while we eat, tap into our senses and really savour our food?
Tuning into our hunger before we eat
Before we’ve even put food into our mouths, we are often not paying attention to how we feel. From childhood, we are pretty much attuned to eating until our plate is empty. It makes sense right, how many of us grew up hearing, “no leaving the table, until you’ve finished your dinner!”? An interesting study set people up in a room either being served soup in a regular bowl or a ‘bottomless’ bowl that was being filled up by a hidden tube. People eating soup from the bottomless bowls ate 73% more than people eating from a regular bowl! In essence it showed that these people were using their eyes to determine their feelings of fullness rather than their stomachs.
So if we serve up food mindlessly and just fill up the plate, it means that we could be eating more than what our bodies need! It’s really important that we check in with our hunger and what our body is telling us it needs before we serve up.
Being present while we eat to really savour and enjoy food
By being distracted whilst we eat means we can miss the opportunity to really savour and enjoy our food. How many times have you eaten something and then realised “oh it’s all finished, I hardly tasted that” or “where did that bag of chips go, it was full a minute ago?”
Mindful eating can help to teach us to be aware of our bodies and how it is feeling before, during and after a meal. Have you ever eaten at a fancy restaurant, where the dishes are so small and intricate that you literally inspect every element of the dish and savour every mouthful? Imagine if we did that every meal.
Eating mindfully means we can slow down the pace of our meals and really enjoy the pleasure, plus allow your brain time to hear the “I’m full” signals from your stomach.
See our recent blog on the Mindful Eating Exercise, The Humble Chocolate.
- Putting your knife and fork down when you’re half way through a meal.
- Always putting your phone away, turning the TV off or eat away from your desk.
- Before eating, consider how the food got to you – who cooked it, who farmed it?
- Check in with what your body needs. Is there a type of food you might be craving? It’s important we listen to these cues and let our body lead the way.
- Alicia & her husband Dave will always stop before serving up a plate of food and check in with each other’s hunger on a scale of 1-10 to see how hungry they are and portion up accordingly – simple, yet effective!