3 Steps to eat mindfully and why not to multitask while eating
3 Steps to eat mindfully and why not to multitask while eating offers something for each of us to do differently this year. 3 Steps to eat mindfully not distracted or multitasking is a great place to start with your health improvement goals. You’re not alone on this, most of us eat distracted most of the time. Start your new year with one focus, eating mindfully and watch what changes.
Distracted eating looks like:
- Eating with others – yes this fly’s in the face of living happier longer through social connections. It’s something to be aware of so you stay mindful.
- Conversation while eating
- Eating quickly for no apparent reason other than habit
- Eating quickly because you have: places to go, things to do and people to see!
- Watching TV
- Talking on the phone
- Listening to the radio news
- Add your distraction here:________________________
Yes you got it, if you’re not mindfully eating, you’re eating distracted.
Why is eating distracted a concern? You overeat when you are not mindfully eating. You don’t chew as much and thus you don’t digest your food well when you are eating mindlessly. You miss all of your physical body cues on what foods to skip because it isn’t what your body needs, what food tastes like, what food feels like, what food smells like and when you’ve had enough (which is a lot less than being full). You eat seconds before 20 minutes have passed. It really does take 20 minutes for food to digest and signal back to your brain that you’ve had enough. So chewing slowly has a multitude of benefits.
Changing your eating habits only happens when you are thoroughly aware of what you are doing now. Here’s 3 steps to eat mindfully and get you started with your mindful eating awareness:
Step 1: Take time this week to notice your current eating environment.
- Where do you eat? At the table? TV on or off? Relaxed? Rushed?
- Doing something else while eating?
- Standing? Sitting?
- With someone else? Alone? In conversation?
- Doing something else?
Keep a notebook with everything you notice about your eating environment.
Step 2: Next notice where your mind is while you are eating.
- Did you give thanks for having food?
- Are you tasting the food?
- Are you aware of the textures and how the texture and flavors change as you chew?
- Are you chewing the food…?
- Have you had enough?
- Do you wait 20 minutes before you have more?
Write this down in your notebook.
Step 3: Breathe, breathe, breathe and ask yourself what you can do different to eat mindfully? What patterns do you notice in Steps 1 and 2?
Having a goal to eat mindfully is not enough, you need to plan and take the steps to reach the goal. Today, right now, write three specific, measurable steps that you can take every day this month to eat mindfully. If that feels like too much, choose one of the steps and just focus on it for a month or two before you add the next step. It’s best if you can hook this step to something you already do.
- Set the table with at least the utensils and napkin – 5 days a week. Do this when you usually just grab the fork.
- Before sitting down, turn the TV off for every meal. If you already sat down, get up and turn it off. (A bonus activity step!)
- Give thanks and mindfully taste at least the first three bites of food at every meal.
Enjoy the experience of eating an abundance of food at each meal mindfully. Sign up here for Nutrition Insights: