Practicing Mindful EatingJanuary 28, 2012
I am in Washington DC attending the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s Advanced Training. I realized yesterday at lunch that I desire to practice mindful eating more often. The realization came to me as we were beginning lunch when the facilitator invited us to offer gratitude for the meal we were about to eat, and I had already gobbled down half my plate. I wondered in that moment why in the world I eat so fast. It has been a way of life for me as long as I remember, and I don’t enjoy almost always being the first one finished with a meal.
As often happens for me in this type of learning setting, I started to inquire within about why I behave this way. The answer that came up is that possibly the mindset for the behavior is tied to my childhood when we often had little food in the house. I don’t remember ever going hungry, but I do remember my mom being challenged with how to stretch her dollars at the grocery. As I thought about this, I realized another reason I was eating fast was so I could go back for more from the buffet rather than enjoying the food that was I was eating in the moment.
Fully experiencing the present moment is critical to implementing any mind-body skill. Since I eat at least three times every day, I feel focusing on mindful eating will enhance my ability to stay in the present moment, keep me more connected with all of this work, and improve my overall health and well-being.
The practice of mindful eating includes taking time to appreciate the food you are eating by being grateful for it and possibly extending gratitude to the preparers and growers; noticing the colors, variety, and textures of your food; thoroughly experiencing each food through all your senses; and eating predominantly natural, nutritious foods. I look forward to enjoying my meals more and improving my overall well-being by practicing mindful eating.