A Mindful Eating Exercise

mindful-eating

This week I was able to take a wonderful class that I want to share with you.  It was called "Mindful Eating" and the purpose was to learn to listen to our body’s need for food and respond intuitively in contrast to just eating on auto-pilot.


One of the activities that we did in the class was to have a small meal together.  We were allowed to go to a healthy breakfast buffet, filled with all sorts of goodies, choose whatever we wanted to eat and return to the table.  Once we were at the table these were the instructions:


1.  We were to sit in silence while we ate our breakfast.  

2.  Before eating, we were to take a moment to look at our food - observing the colors, textures, quantity, etc.  

3.  Say a silent prayer for the food (which could include the aspects of nourishment to giving thanks for the means it arrived at the table).

4.  After each bite, we had to put our fork or spoon down, chew our food thoroughly, and not lift up the fork or spoon again until we had swallowed.


At the end of our time of eating in silence, we shared our thoughts from this exercise, and here are a few things that I learned that might be of interest for some of you.


1.  Our lives are so rushed that we often lose sight of the gift of an actual sit down meal.  Solution:  Eat meals at a cleared table set in ways that are visually pleasing, even if that is just a table setting for one!  Choose plates, napkins, cups, even flowers, music, candles or lighting that are pleasing to you so that the focus is not simply about cramming a meal down but the gift of having a meal.

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Bless us O Lord, and

2.  Food is designed for energy, stamina, healing, so be mindful of those choices.  One of the things we all noticed was how mindlessly we give thanks for food on our plates that do not have nourishing qualities.  As if to say, “I give thanks that this will make me sick.”  (I know don’t kill the messenger, just be “mindful” of this!)


3.  If food is for energy, stamina, and healing, dont misuse it for self-soothing, self-medicating, or entertainment.  Find alternative ways to entertain yourself or to soothe your emotions.  Discover the triggers that cause you to reach for poor food choices and be “mindful of those occasions, prepared with alternative plans.


My triggers are:  being cold, tired (very susceptible to awful eating habits when I have had a poor nights sleep!), feeling I deserve a reward, or when I skip a meal.  

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If you’ve never considered this, you might want to spend some time thinking about your own triggers and devise plans to help you in those weak moments.  


All in all, I found this exercise to be very illuminating and encourage you to try it as well.  You could either do it alone or go to a buffet with a group of friends and try the exercise together so that you can share and learn from one another.


Heres to being Mindful towards our Eating, and consequently Healthy In Our Lives!!


© margaret young