[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]F[/su_dropcap]ood is usually the first thought we have upon waking up in the morning. We hobble into the kitchen– half-awake — grab a bowl of cereal, gobble it down, and continue on with our morning routine. Why not start your day with a mindful practice? Mindful eating is a great exercise to start your mind on the right track for the day. It allows you to be in the moment by focusing your attention on the process of eating.
According to Dr. Lilian Cheung, there are several steps to consider when practicing mindful eating:
- First, develop a shopping list and consider the nutrition of each item. Buy only the items on the list— try to restrain yourself from impulse shopping.
- Once you return home, do your best to avoid distraction and if at all possible, try this practice alone.
- Mindful eating requires a healthy appetite, but not starved.
- Next, focus on each of your senses while you prepare, plate, and eat your food. Be aware of the smells and flavors. Pay attention to the feel of the fork between your fingers, the sound of your chewing, and the texture of each bite.
- Your. Time.
- Continue to chew your food longer than usual, allowing it to sit on your tongue for a few seconds so you can absorb the flavor.
- Set your eating utensil down in between bites to slow the process even more.
- And finally, once you have finished eating, continue your mindful focus as you clean your space.
As a bonus, eating less is a byproduct of mindful eating. Your brain takes some time to realize you’ve had enough to eat; therefore, eating quickly means you’ll continue eating before the full sensation kicks in. No stomachaches with this exercise.
When practicing mindful eating, not only will you get to enjoy delicious food more fully, you will also train your brain to stay in the moment. Mindful eating is a great exercise if you want to combine meal time with meditation, or if you just want to switch things up and focus on chewing rather than breathing. However you choose to remain mindful, remember patience and happiness will soon follow.