Aly's Angle: On Mindful Eating

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mindful eatingAly's Angle on Mindful Eating: Why is it so hard for me.

Thoughts on this week’s mindful eating goal, Jan. 8, 2014

The idea of mindful eating makes complete sense. You are supposed to appreciate each bite of food you put into your mouth. Actually taste the flavors, notice the textures, and enjoy it.

Why is that so hard for me? I can’t stop long enough to taste my food. All week I have been trying to eat mindfully. I make my food, I sit down at the kitchen table without any digital distractions, and I put that first bite into my mouth. I take a couple of slow bites, notice the flavor, and swallow. It tastes good. I do the same thing with my second bite. It tastes even better. By the third bite, I notice that I have to take a deep breath because, for some reason, I feel a bit of anxiety that I am not multitasking.

So inhale, exhale. With this next bite, I am going to try to really focus on the texture of the food. I am going to try to identify different flavors within the food. I might get through another bite or two, but after that, everything falls apart. Although I don’t have digital distractions such as my phone and computer in front of me, I find that my thoughts are an even bigger distraction.

During the week I have accomplished up to 30 seconds of mindfulness while eating. I guess that is an accomplishment because before this week, I would run around the kitchen, put together a quick breakfast and eat it while driving to a Be BETTER workout. I used to eat whole meals while in front of the computer and didn’t even remember doing it.

What I have learned:

  • When you actually taste the food you are eating, you realize that healthy food is packed with flavor.
  • Part of mindful eating is the preparation. I like to call it Mindful Preparation.
  • I had less desire to eat unhealthy foods because focusing on the flavors of processed foods just didn’t seem right. However, I loved my mindful eating exercise while eating dark chocolate from Austria over the weekend.

Overall, I need to continue practicing mindful eating because my inability to do so transfers into other areas of my life. It transfers to my struggle to be present in the moment. It is the reason yoga is incredibly hard for me.

The best advice that I have found is on Summer Tomato, which offers 9 Simple Tricks to Eat More Mindfully . The favorites I am going to practice this week: “Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand” and “take your first bite with your eyes closed.”