To engage your senses, you must pay attention to the textures, smells, sounds, and the colors you experience while eating, as well as how your body responds to these things. The eating experience involves more than just of taste. Pause for a moment after placing some food in your mouth and allow your body to respond in different ways.
Repeat this process continually as you are eating your meal and you will notice that eating slowly becomes a new experience entirely, one in which you are in control. It will certainly take time to engage all of the senses in the proper manner, but the end result is well worth it. Even boring, healthy food can become a new and interesting experience.
Slow It Down
Slowing down the eating process is usually a good idea, but it doesn't mean you have to come to a near halt. However, you must remember that eating is not a contest of speed, but rather a time to enjoy flavors, sounds, sights, and textures. If you take the time to eat slower, then the body has more time to gauge its level of hunger. This means you will know when you are full rather than eating through the moment. Some families find fun ways to slow down their meals. One possibility is attempting to eat meals with chopsticks. This can be fun for adults as well as children and it helps slow things down to reduce the likelihood of overeating.
Of course, you may not want to spend every meal trying to figure out how to eat with chopsticks. There are other, more practical, techniques you can use to slow down the meal. Another idea for slowing down the eating process is setting down your utensils after each bite. Focus less on moving on to the next bite and more on how your body is responding to what you are consuming at that very moment.
Finally, if you know you are going to have a shorter time for your meal, then use that as an opportunity to plan a smaller meal. For example, if your lunch break is only ten or fifteen minutes, then there is no need to bring a large meal. Practice mindful eating with a smaller meal.
Silence Is Golden
Life is full of plenty of distractions throughout the day. It is best to remove as many of them as possible during meal times. One very common distraction during meals is the television. This directly interferes with mindful eating. It makes it difficult to focus on the meal and the various sensory responses.
Instead of watching television while you eat, try to find ways to enjoy your meal with as much silence as possible. Of course, this may not always be possible. It is even more difficult if you have children. You don't necessarily need to spend every minute of the meal in complete silence. After all, that might get pretty boring, even when practicing mindful eating. Try instead to set aside small portions of time, perhaps a few minutes here and there to focus on silence and eating.
Don't Ignore Flavor
It was mentioned earlier that the various senses are important, not just flavor. That isn't to say the flavor is not important. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the most important parts of the meal when practicing mindful eating. The flavors come alive when you slow down the eating and take time to actually enjoy them.
Learn Your Foods
Mindful eating is all about creating a relationship between yourself and the food you eat. That might sound crazy at first, but soon you will realize that foods have their own personalities. These personalities are created through a combination of textures, flavors, smells, and so forth. You can even take your relationship a step further by planting your own vegetables or creating your own bread. There are many different ways you can learn and understand your food that goes beyond just eating the food.
Learning how your food is made and where it comes from can help you experience it and enjoy it on an entirely new level. It is also one of the final steps in mindful eating. Eventually, these steps will allow you to shift your focus to how you eat and how your body responds rather than just what you eat and how many calories it has. Before long, you will be savoring every bite while feeling stronger both physically and mentally.
Martyn Williams is a record-holding extreme explorer, author and successful entrepreneur. He is a yoga teacher and practices natural and Ayurveda healing. To learn more, check out his site, Haritaki.org.
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