Mindfully Eating A Meal
I'm not sure about you, but all the excitement of the holidays has left me feeling sluggish and unable to get back into a groove. I find this to be the most evident in my sleeping habits and in the way that I eat. When I get back into a busy routine, I often find myself forgetting to eat until I'm hangry and not setting aside time to prepare my meals. This leaves me rushed and anxious, and spending a lot of lunch hours at Whole Foods or A&W (I LOVE A&W). One thing that I'm trying to do this year is improve my eating and overall energy level through the habit of Mindful Eating.
Mindful eating is not a new concept, but in the fast paced world we live in, it's a method of eating that we "don't have time for." How often do you sit at your desk and eat your lunch while working on your end-of-business deadlines? I'm right there with you! I know that multi-tasking while eating easily becomes the norm, but why don't we try to really enjoy the food we're eating? Why can't we feel good after eating instead of feeling bloated and guilty? Do you feel me on this?
If you're with me on trying to incorporate more mindful eating this year, here are some easy steps that I'm working on. Maybe one of these steps can be your new thing this year:
1. Being thankful for every meal
This has been the smallest yet most impactful practice I've started cultivating: thanking God for what I am about to eat at each meal. I also try to be thankful for all the people who've helped get the food to me. You don't have to say a prayer if you're not comfortable with that. Even just a thought of "I'm blessed to have this food. Thank you." Quickstyles gratitude works! It really changes the tone of the meal when you can pause and be thankful.
2. Changing my eating environment
When you're at home or work, it's easy to not care about how your food looks or where you're eating it: from the jar while standing in the kitchen or straight out of your tupperware while leaning back in your office chair. This year I'm trying to get into a habit of eating my meals at a table, from a plate. Bonus points if I don't eat my lunch at my desk! It takes a little bit more effort, but helps to clear my mind and make the meal enjoyable!
3. Listening to my body
I'm setting the intention to listen to my body and nourish it with what it needs. This means being mindful of eating when I'm hungry, not when I'm bored or triggered. When I was a kid, it was always frowned upon to waste food, so I grew up constantly overeating. That's another habit I'm trying to break with this step, I'm trying to release guilt when I decide to eat or not eat something. Whatever I choose to fuel my body with, I'm going to go in and enjoy it.
4. Just eating
This means that I will try not to multi-task while eating. This is probably the hardest step for me, possibly for you too. I am trying really hard to eat without scrolling through my IG feed, working, or Netflix-ing. Another big thing that I often do while eating is thinking about anything but my food. Perhaps a past conversation or the to-do list is on my mind, but that can wait while I take 15-20 minutes to enjoy my meal.
There's a lot of different ways to practice Mindful or Intuitive eating. Try a few things out, see what works for you. If you're trying this and have a hard time being in the moment, I highly recommend the Headspace Eating exercise, it's what I used in the beginning. And as always, be easy on yourself when creating new habits. As my yoga teacher has said,
"A little bit of effort each day can create great change in your life."
Take your time!
Image courtesy of Pinterest.