Mindful Eating – Food for Thought!
The proof is in the pudding! In other words one has to try it out in order to know if it works. Starting the new year with an intention towards spending a little more time focusing on how you eat is truly a gift to yourself. Cultivating a mindful eating practice and moving away from the diet mentality and our fast pace society can be quite challenging initially. We cultivate ingrained habits over time that include automatic ways of reaching for food without much thought about what we are doing. As most people will testify when there is an emotional upheavel food can be used as a way of satisfying our need to feel better about ourselves. Shortlived as that is.
Mindful eating requires an internal shift rather than external which is where we worry about portions, dress sizes, bathroom scales the size of your plate. Becoming aware of your internal guidance where you get to use your taste buds, your sense of hunger/satiety cues. I encourage people to watch any food programme on tv and to pay particular attention to how the chef describe the various foods he’s eating. One could say he is ‘deliberately paying attention’.
The smell, taste, texture visual image of food on the plate, is a great opportunity to bring our senses alive. I vividly remember one person describe how it felt to have lost his sense of taste and smell due to ill health. It was a very moving moment and as many commented afterwards it was an experience that brought a new sense of awareness to the value and gift of our senses.
So why not try becoming your own master chef? Perhaps join a class or group that will encourage you throughout the year…. remember the practice is not just about food but also how to access our internal wisdom and to use the qualities and characteristics of mindfulness in how we approach food, our bodies and our entire lives.