Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment without judgement. When we apply mindfulness to eating it helps us to slow down and appreciate our food.
Catherine Russo Epstein explains the benefits of mindful eating and how to get started.
Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment without judgement.
In simple terms, that means being aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions without judgement.
Mindful eating is bringing mindfulness to our eating.
Eating and food is an emotional experience for all of us (to a bigger or smaller way.)
As you become aware of these emotions and feelings around food, you can change them.
Our society celebrates with food. Parties and eating are a normal part of emotional eating.
Often we eat when we want to avoid an emotion (for that’s boredom!)
A bit of emotional eating is normal. The danger is when emotional eating leads you to over eat.
Start with just one meal. At a time when you can be present at that meal.
For example, start by eating an apple in a mindful way. Cut it up. Put it on a plate. Savour each mouthful. Pay attention to how it smells, tastes and feels.
The acronym PRAYER is a useful way to remind you HOW to do mindful eating:
P pause before you take the first bite.
R reflect on the food in front of you.
A appreciate the food and its source.
Y you. Remember eating is all about YOU.
E eat with intention and enjoy your food.
R remember to breathe.
It’s so easy to open a packet of chips or throw a frozen pizza in the oven. Even healthy options such as fruit is easily accessible. All we need to do is reach to the fruit bowl and take a bite (perhaps run it under the tap first!)
When we feel the urge to eat we get instant gratification.
It hasn’t always been so easy to get readily available food. In the past, people had to grow food. Or store it over winter. They had to plan things more and wait until fruit was ripe before they could eat it.
If you can!
It’s much better for the environment as the food doesn’t have to travel so far.
It’s also better for us as the fruit and vegetables will be allowed to ripen and contain more nutrients.
If you live in an area that doesn’t produce so much food, you’ll probably need to supplement. (I know my friends in Canada have problems with fresh foods in the winter.) But you can still eat the food that is seasonal when it’s available.
Treat yourself with compassion!
Learning to love yourself will help you to make the changes that you want to.
Read Catherine’s book: The Divine Dining Method
You can find the 21 Day Challenge and the Divine Dining Method Program here.
Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.