When is the last time you just sat and really enjoyed an apple, tasting its sweetness, its tartness, feeling its texture in your hand, observing its color, its imperfections, feeling it quench the hunger pang that once rattled your stomach?
In many modern societies, we often view eating as a necessary task to keep our body functioning so we can continue to work diligently. We are often distracted while we eat, working on our computers or thinking about upcoming tasks, completely unaware of how the food tastes and how it is affecting our bodies.
A Simple Exercise in Mindful Eating
If you have never fully paid attention to the meal you are eating, or its been a long time, I invite you to try this simple mindful eating exercise! All it requires is you, food, and your full attention.
- Choose a meal – it can be any meal and any kind of food. It is best to try the exercise while eating alone at first as it will be easier to concentrate.
- Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and simply observe your breath. Feel the air enter your nose upon inhale, and exit upon exhale. Try this for about a minute. This will help to relax the mind and increase your attentiveness to sensation.
- Open your eyes – began to observe the food visually. What is the color, the shape, how does it sit against the plate? It is essential to just observe, rather than create a story about the food. Simply observe the visual characteristics of the food.
- Next, where appropriate, pick up the food with your hands. How does it feel? Sticky, soft, warm, cold, moist? Again, simply observe the interaction between the food and your hand.
- Before bringing the food to your mouth, observe any olfactory sensations – does the food smell pungent, smoky, sweet? Simply observe.
- Bring the food to your mouth and chew slowly, more slowly than you usually would. Observe the taste and sensations which arise.
- As you chew, feel the food being formed into a bolus, and as you swallow, observe the sensations as the bolus moves down your esophagus.
- Observe any sounds which occur during this process.
- Continue eating, continuing to be mindful of each sensation that you feel, moment to moment. If your mind begins to wander, simply bring your attention back to the breath, and then to the experience of eating – sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound.
This simple exercise allows one to essentially meditate while they eat. When I practice this, I tend to enjoy the food more, and realize if I am eating something that is not good for my body. It can be difficult, as our schedules tend to push us in the direction of constantly analyzing, problem-solving, and thinking about the next tasks ahead. But, give it a shot, at least once, and let me know how it goes!
Thank you so much Dr. DuDell for sharing this with me! Your work will always live on!
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*Originally posted on my old website which no longer exists, riverbearfitness.com.