By Rachel Dziedzic, Registered Dietician and Fitness Instructor
Whittier Street Health Center: Wellness Institute
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply the moment-by-moment awareness of life or pure presence in the moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own thoughts, self-talk and hectic schedules that we can become scarcely aware of life as it passes us by. By practicing mindfulness we can create a better understanding of habitual patterns that may have developed from lack of awareness created by these distractions in our life.
By” tuning in” to the root of why we have developed unfavorable habits we can help create solutions to them. Boredom, stress, and fatigue are some common reasons that drive us to overeat or eat when we are not hungry. Mindful eating is paying close attention to these feelings and recognizing the true hunger for food.
Mindful eating focusing on being present in the moment while eating and savoring the taste, texture, and sensations of food. When you engage your senses, you can connect with the present moment and learn to enjoy food in a more nourishing way. When we really pay attention to our food we can begin to notice all sorts of wonderful aspects of it. Being more mindful while we eat can help us to enjoy food more and fill our bodies with just right amount of food it needs.
Mindful Eating Tips for Practice
- Before eating, check in: Am I hungry? What emotions am I feeling?
- Sit at the table without distractions: Try to avoid eating while standing, walking, driving, talking on the phone, or watching TV.
- Start with a small portion of food. Try using a smaller plate or bowl than you normally use.
- Try to make your meal last at least 15 minutes (try setting a timer)
- Be aware of the bright colors and fresh smells of the food on your plate. Slowly savor your food by noticing the aromas, colors, textures and tastes of every bite. How did you food get on your plate? Lots of love and care was involved from farm to table.
- Drink water between bites throughout your meal.
- Chew for 22! Chew your food, try to chew each bite 22 times.
- Put down your fork periodically. Check in midway through your meal. BREATHE!
- Stop eating when you feel satisfied, but before you feel very full. Our goal is to feel better after eating then we did before! Remember you can always save unfinished food for later, freeze meals, share with a friend etc.