To practice mindful eating, it’s important to eat with all your attention rather than on “automatic pilot”. When your attention strays, gently bring it back to your food and the experience of eating.
Try practicing mindful eating for short, five-minute periods at first and gradually build up from there.
Start by taking a few deep breaths and considering the health value of each different piece of food. Be curious and make observations about yourself, as well as the food you’re about to eat. Notice how you’re sitting, sit with good posture but remain relaxed. Tune into your hunger: How hungry are you?
With the food in front of you, take a moment to appreciate it—and any people you’re sharing the meal with—before eating. Pay attention to the textures, shapes, colours and smells of the food. What reactions do you have to the food, and how do the smells make you feel?
Take a bite and notice how it feels in your mouth. How would you describe the texture now? Try to identify all the ingredients, all the different flavours. Chew thoroughly.
Focus on how your experience shifts moment to moment. Do you feel yourself getting full? Are you satisfied? Take your time, stay present and don’t rush the experience.
Put your utensils down between bites. Take time to consider how you feel—hungry, satiated—before picking up your utensils again. Listen to your stomach, not your plate. Know when you’re full and stop eating. Continue to eat slowly paying close attention to your body’s signals of fullness.
Think of mindful eating like exercise: every little bit counts. The more you can do to slow down, focus solely on the process of eating and listen to your body, the greater satisfaction you’ll experience from your food and the greater control you’ll have over your diet and nutrition habits.