Welcome to your 10-day challenge to eat more mindfully.
As human beings we all have an animalistic side to us by nature. This can really come out around food or lack of food.
Ever experience hanger or see somebody else in that mood?
Ever devour a meal in mere minutes?
Ever eat so much during food preparation that you are no longer hungry when dinner is served?
Ever over eat to the point of feeling sick?
Ever pick something off the ground and eat it even when you know you probably shouldn’t? I know, of course you haven’t 😉
By working on these tips it can help you to feel better about your body and your ability to manage eating habits in a healthy and nourishing way while still enjoying the pleasure of food to the max. It will just be enjoyed more on your terms.
Set a reminder on your phone at meal times for the next 10-days if you are liable to forget about this commitment you feel will benefit your life.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin…
DAY 1: Think about flavours.
Mindful eating places importance on bringing awareness to your senses around food. Today, let’s zone in on flavours.
Which different flavours do you taste?
While eating ask yourself: Is this salty or sweet? Does it have an aftertaste? Are there elements that I like in particular or potentially some that I dislike?
DAY 2: Focus on the textures.
Chewing thoroughly is important when it comes to experiencing textures. As you chew ask the following:
- As I chew what texture or textures am I experiencing?
- Am I craving certain textures?
- Is this hot or cold?
- Do I like this texture?
DAY 3: Eat slowly.
Enjoy a meal today in a calm manner. Set your watch to give you at least 20-minutes to enjoy it.
Put your fork down after every couple of bites, try to chew more. Pause occassionally for a sip of water. If it’s too difficult to slow down for the whole meal then make a conscious effort to try these techniques during the first five minutes.
DAY 4: No distractions.
Today, make sure to have a meal with zero distractions. Maybe go out to your back garden or find a quiet spot in the apartment or house.
Avoid any screens during this time. This is intimate time for you and your food 😉
Studies have shown that when we eat distracted we tend to consume more calories…
DAY 5: Am I really hungry?
Great question to ask yourself regardless of whether you want to lose weight or you just find that your steady snacking habits get in the way of a productive day.
If you’re not hungry but acting on impulse/boredom then consider a cuppa or something else to distract yourself for a few minutes and then get on with your day.
DAY 6: Notice emotions you experience while eating.
Many of us deal with emotional eating, it could be driven by feeling sad, lonely, angry etc.
So have a notebook or note function on your phone ready to start jotting down some thoughts and feelings around food.
- Before eating this what kind of thoughts and emotions are coming up around this meal?
- Why do you think these emotions are coming up?
Don’t worry if you are unsure, that’s ok. Jot down whatever thoughts are coming to you unfiltered.
DAY 7: Mindful Moment
Before plating up a meal today. Please do this 2-minute exercise while sitting comfortably.
Inhale for 4 seconds – pause for 2 seconds – exhale for 6 seconds.
Do this for 10 full breaths.
You can now approach your meal with a calmer mindset.
Have your notebook close by to jot down any emotions coming up.
DAY 8: Be thankful for your food.
Ask yourself what did it take to get this food from farm to fork? By this I simply mean, where did it come from? Did it travel far to get to me? Is it close to nature or has it been processed a lot?
This can help bring our awareness to the type of food we eat, whether it’s locally produced etc.
It can be nice to imagine the farmer who takes great pride in his/her land and crop to contribute to the lovely meal we have in front of us.
DAY 9: Engage your sense of sight.
Using your eyes, recognise the individual ingredients which you are preparing, their shapes, their colours etc.
Look at the make up of your meal and ask is it aesthetically pleasing?
If not, think of way that it could be improved. For example sprinkling some lovely and fresh parsely over your filet of cod or adding some fruit and nuts to your yoghurt.
DAY 10: Involve your sense of smell.
Smell and taste are closely related – ever get a lovely smell of barbecue and feel that saliva production?
Recognise today the smells coming from your dish, whether they contribute to a sense of hunger, think if one smell is overwhelming and if you could only smell this dish would you still be interested in eating it?
Congratulations on getting half way through the journey. The final ten days is found on the blog section in an article labelled:
10-day mindful eating challenge part-2
This article was inspired by a fantastic twenty one day mindful eating challenge I found on the excellent health and wellness resource healthline.com
Get in touch via the contact tab if you want to line up a one on one mindful eating consultation or to organise a nutrition workshop with your workplace/team.
Declan “Eat Like a Monk” Treanor