“Well, of course I am conscious when I am eating, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to eat. Right?"
Or, “I am conscious that I am eating everything that is on my plate!”
Or even, “I am conscious that I shouldn’t be eating an entire bag of chips, pizza or box of cookies; but I am going to do it anyway!”
Well, sort of, but that is only part of what I mean by Conscious Eating.
Conscious Eating is about being present in the moment
when you are eating!
When was the last time, other than a holiday, you sat down and enjoyed a meal that lasted longer then 15 minutes?
How often do you eat a meal by yourself, whether at your desk, in the car, or even in a restaurant by yourself?
Do you eat in front of the TV or computer or continue to work while taking forkfuls?
If you sit down with your family at night for dinner, that is awesome! For most, we have become a society that eats on the go, takes food out, brings food in, and I am sure there are a lot more terms in there that you can come up with!
Conscious Eating is the meditation of your culinary cuisine!
Remember the last time you put something in your mouth that made your eyes light up? Yeah, that time, when you paused to notice the texture on your tongue. How smoothly it slid off the spoon and oh, what is that flavor? You know you have tasted it before but you just can’t place your finger on what it is called. Wow, this is complete heaven, and I am going to eat this as slowly as I can because I never want this moment to end!!! Wow, if every meal could be like this…
You have just experienced Conscious Eating
Mindfulness is a buzz word on social media today…how to be mindful, the importance of being mindful in your day…to the point, I actually have clients that do not want me using the word in conversation with them because it makes them cringe or they feel it is too spiritual of a thought for them. And, that is okay. It doesn’t matter what word we use, it is our actions that are more important; but why would it be important to eat consciously?
Here are some physical advantages to Eating Consciously:
Better digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body - Digestion begins in the mouth, so it is extremely important to chew your food and to chew it thoroughly. Remember that episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy chews her food 21 times…we sure got a huge laugh out of that one but in reality, it is far from comical and actually a reality. If you are swallowing chunks of food, your body is only going to have to break it down to be able to absorb the nutrients which will put stress into your intestines, often causing gas and bloating. So, why not give yourself the advantage and chew slowly?
Maintain a Healthy Weight and/or Weight Loss - Chewing your food thoroughly means that you take longer to eat your meal. After 20 minutes, your brain will register you are satisfied; therefore, you may not be tempted by the chocolate chip cookie in the display case as a treat after lunch!
Here are some tips to Eat Consciously:
Make a date at meal times - This can and often will be a date with yourself. Give yourself time to sit down without distractions and focus on the plate in front of you. This may include the process of making the meal itself.
Choose healthy, high nutrient dense foods - I will bring this topic to another post, but be aware of the choices you are making and always choose the best options in the moment. Hint: Stay away from processed foods and labels that you can’t pronounce the ingredient list.
Awareness - Notice what the food looks like on your plate. How is it arranged. See if you can notice something new each time. Something you wouldn’t necessarily notice if you were watching TV or talking/texting on the phone while eating.
Senses - Use as many senses as you can while eating. Seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and even hearing — listening for the sound it makes when you bite into whatever you are eating.
Slow down - Prior to eating, take a few slow, deep breaths to help change your mindset if you have come from the business of your day. Take your time when chewing your food and notice the impact this has on you emotionally? If you still feel you are rushing, put your utensil down between bites. This will create time. In the beginning, you may feel anxious about taking so much time out to eat but notice how you feel when you have taken the time to eat and actually enjoy your meal.
You can practice these tips even when you are eating with others. Share with them what you are doing and get them to join you. You can create a conversation about what each other notices about their meal -- a great way to connect with those around you! Especially fun for kids!
Challenged choosing foods that are nutrient dense and will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Contact me TODAY to set up a complimentary consultation and let's get you feeling AMAZING!