Be Mindful for Just One Meal a Day
Typically, we eat 3 meals a day. That is what society tries to *cough* shove down our throats. You might even have more or less than three meals a day. However many meals a day you eat, being mindful for just one of those meals can go a long way in growing your mindfulness.
Think about it. How truly aware are you of the texture of the food you are chewing? Of the different flavours that reside in each bite of food you take? How aware are you of the smells that your nose is taking in, of the feelings you experience as you consume each piece? Are you noticing how your fingers feel, holding your knife and fork, are you aware of that slight discomfort when you rest your elbows on the table? Aware of how chewing the food itself feels? Are you aware of the surroundings the food is in, who you are with, the table, it’s design, the chair you are sitting on?
If we just stop and think for a second, it is easy to see the sheer mind-blowing VOLUME of what we miss in just one simple meal. Imagine what we miss in an entire day! An entire day’s worth of detail is way too much to take in at this stage… However, by taking in a small chunk of the day’s detail (one meal) we can steadily grow, bit by bit, how many details we can be mindful of at one time.
Eating is something we all do, if you didn’t do it you’d be dead (captain obvious to the rescue). Therefore there are zero excuses that anyone could come up with for taking up this mindful eating practice. It’s as easy as deciding to do it.
Whenever I decide to be mindful for a meal, I find myself fully immersed in the experience of eating, and this, more often than not, makes the food taste amazing. I remember it all, I savour the flavours, it becomes almost a very flow-like activity, where I get in the zone just by eating. I find that I am more aware of my surroundings, instead of simply wolfing down my food, I am able to take in more of what is happening.
I find that this also helps to simply reduce how quickly you are eating, allowing your digestion to work that much better.
Mindful eating allows your body’s satiation mechanisms to kick in gradually (over 15-25 minutes), instead of you overriding the ‘I’m full feeling’ by eating it all within 5 minutes. If you are someone who watches how much they eat, then this could be useful.
If you also value what you eat, then this could be of value. Practicing mindfulness whenever you go to eat can help you become aware of any cravings you might have, your thoughts and feelings about eating healthily as opposed to that chocolate-laden snack. If you can manage to become unconditionally aware of your internal struggle, you are better equipped to make a choice that you won’t regret.
So, I encourage you try it: cook some delicious food, sit down, put your phone, tablet, magazine or iThing away and really notice the meal in it’s entirety. You will probably enjoy it a lot more.