How many of you eat mindfully in this busy day and age? Do you wonder how to even eat mindfully? If you’re anything like me you’re probably more likely to be forking food into your mouth with one hand and typing emails into your phone with the other. I know, I get it – by the time you’ve finished with work, hobbies and that pesky side hustle that you do just for the heck of it (or to save for that house deposit) you’re scraping around for every minute of spare time. Made worse by that “always on” feeling that technology gives us, and that nagging feeling that you Have To Reply To That Message Right Now.
What many of you won’t know is I’ve been on quite a journey food-wise this year. For months (probably longer), I was sick every single day. I was exhausted, bloated and fed up. Something had to change. After moving round doctor to doctor, on the advice of friends I finally visited a naturopath, Jade Astey, and that’s when I released my relationship with food had to change. Amongst many big and small changes I made, one of the things that had the biggest impact for me, was eating mindfully.
I know what you’re thinking, “eating mindfully, what’s that? I just wanna eat and be done with it (or take photos, eat and be done with it).” Like any other form of self care, it’s about taking that little bit of time to look after yourself – in this case your stomach, gut and digestive health. By taking those few extra minutes out of your day though, you’ll also do wonders for your mental health too! Here’s my take on Jade’s top tips on how to eat mindfully.
1. Stop multitasking
Put the phone away, sit at a table. Make dinner a thing you actually do every day – not a sideshow to MAFS or your whatsapp convo! If you’re eating with friends or loved ones, take the time to catch up on their day, share stories and enjoy each other’s company. If you’re eating alone, just take it as an opportunity to have 10 minutes rest and relaxation.
I find this one really hard, as I’m used to shooting and taking notes while I’m eating so that has just become the norm. However, I now focus on making sure at least one meal a day is now mindful, even if that’s just taking 10 minutes away from my desk and going to sit and eat my lunch. My advice, start small and gradually build it into your daily routine.
2. Focus on the food
Savour your food as you eat. Focus on what you’re eating, the smells, the taste, the texture. Make eating a meal about the experience of eating and enjoy being in that moment. Now this one is easy peasy for me! I do it every single day. So there’s two ways you can go about this:
1. Imagine every meal you eat is in a fine dining restaurant where you’ve paid hundreds of dollars for the experience. I know, it’s kind of hard with that cuppa soup, but trust me, you’ll pay attention to what’s going into your mouth.
2. Pretend you’re a food blogger/restaurant reviewer – and you’re editor wants 3 paragraphs on this meal by tomorrow. Honestly, we must visit over 30 restaurants or cafes a month, but show me a photo of a dish I tried from there, and I can remember EXACTLY what it was like.
3. Eat from a plant, not a packet
Obviously, it’s not always possible to eat fresh all the time, and we all often need to resort to package foods at one time or another. Honestly, I never thought I would be able to live without chocolate or a bag of chips but I do – and food tastes so much better now (I mean I totally can’t handle spicy anymore but it’s a small price to pay).
And if you do eat from a packet, don’t eat FROM the packet. Get a plate or a bowl and dish yourself out a reasonable sized portion. Mindlessly scooping out of a bag or box just makes you eat so much more – you’ll eat because it’s there, not because you’re hungry! Which leads nicely on to…
4. Listen to your body
Stop when you feel full, not when you’ve eaten everything. If you don’t want to waste it, work on making smaller portions, and freeze leftovers or take them for lunch the next day. For so long, I used to feel sick after eating – and I’d be so bloated I’d have to unbutton my jeans. I thought I was just greedy, or that it was normal and everyone felt like that. Now I stop, chew my food carefully and think how I feel. If I start to feel full, or sick, I know I need to stop.
Also on the flip side of this, make sure you eat until you’re full. If I was busy I’d over just shove 3-4 mouthfuls of my lunch into my mouth and declare myself “full”, which basically meant, I want to get back to work. Not mindful, and trust me, even if you think you’re being good, you’ll totally binge on those chips later. Now on a busy day, I’ll look at my (healthy) meal and force myself to eat a certain number of forkfuls before considering if I’m full. I’ve worked hard on portion control so I’ve developed a good idea of when I’m eating “enough” and it’s definitely helped me feel less sluggish in the afternoons!
Do you have any great tips for eating mindfully? Is it something you’ve been focusing on? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!
You can find out more about Jade here: