Throughout the day, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind, hurrying from task to task and going through the motions. Do you eat in front of the TV? Do you text and eat at the same time? Do you have your breakfast while you’re on the computer? Are you always in a rush to finish your lunch and get on to the next thing?
If so… stop eating like that all the time and begin to practice being more present and mindful.
For the next few days, practice “mindful eating,” or basically relaxing, tuning into the moment and actually appreciating how awesome it is to consume clean, healthy fuel. Each time you eat, you’re given the opportunity to be grateful, tune into your senses, connect and improve your well-being. Remember to think through your personal and fitness goals before you prepare or purchase a meal. This will help keep you on track.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention solely on the present moment. The more you practice this, the less you’ll be caught up in your worries, concerns, doubts and outcomes. You will perform and live better when you consistently improve what you eat, why you eat, when you eat and how you eat. You can practice mindfulness when you’re eating, which will help you in many ways.
Tips for Mindful Eating
1. Enjoy It
Sit down to eat your meal, with no electronics (music, TV, cell, computer) on at all. Turn the noise off, put your phone in the other room and create a peaceful environment without any distractions around you.
2. Have Gratitude
Be thankful for your food and your health. Take the time to be grateful for the food in front of you, who prepared it, where it came from and the abilities that you have. Do this before you consume your first bite!
Be quiet – yes, actually eat in silence. (It’s not that weird. You can do it.) Of course, you don’t want to do this all of the time, especially if you’re eating with friends, family or coworkers, but this is a helpful strategy to really tune into the moment.
4. Think About the Why
Think about what the food is going to do for you: Why are you eating it? Where did it come from? Consider each part of your meal and think through the benefits of the fat, carb or protein.
5. Slow Down
Fully chew your food, take breaks and put your utensils down, take deep breaths between bites, drink some water between bites and keep your muscles relaxed.
6. Tune into Your Senses
What are you tasting? Is there a particular sound when you bit into it? How does it smell? Does it feel a certain way? What colors do you see? Recognize and enjoy each part of the flavor, scent, look and feel.
The more mindful you can be while you’re eating, the more in tune you will be with making healthy choices. Instead of rushing through your meal or tuning out while you eat, you can actually tune in and appreciate every morsel. You can savor the flavors, awe in the tastes and recognize how incredible it is to have that specific food to enjoy.
This practice will allow you to be more grateful and centered, and it will help improve your relationship with food. I challenge you to do this for your meals over the next few days. Then continue following the tips as often as you can. There are millions of opportunities to tune in throughout your day. Don’t let yourself get in the habit of rushing around and missing these moments.