With so much time spent on the go, it can become infinitely harder to slow back down and be present in the moment. And this doesn’t exclude out eating habits. When it comes to slowing down while we eat, what we are really referring to is mindful eating. HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat.
Mindful eating is deliberately paying attention, non judgmentally, to your eating experience. It helps us sharpen our hunger and satisfaction signals. It helps us to develop a healthy relationship with food and support weight control. It is also an excellent way to savour and appreciate the food in front of us.
Unfortunately eating mindfully isn’t something that can be achieved over night. It takes practice. One of the most important components of mindful eating is eating more slowly. Here are some tips to get you started.
Start by sitting down at a dining room table for a meal, rather than inhaling food in between meetings, standing over your kitchen sink or on the go in your car. Make sure to turn the TV off and put away your phone, laptop, book, work or anything else that may take your mind off eating.
Focus on chewing. I know this one seems obligatory, but chew your food thoroughly! At your next meal or snack, take a moment to count how many times you chew before triggering a swallow. Chewing your food until ‘smooth’ not only delays the time taken between a bite and a swallow, but it also supports better digestion and prevents bloating and gas.
Put your fork down in between bites. You will focus on chewing and will be more likely to savour each bite. This small change prevents you from going into ‘shoveling mode.’ It slows down the pace of your meal.
Taking sips of water throughout your meal extends your meal time by interrupting the steady pace of your eating.
There are so many practices that can be put in place to help eat mindfully. The few tips and skills I mentioned above just touch the surface of how you can begin to eat mindfully.
Like any new skill, practice makes perfect.