Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word lately, so what does it actually mean? It means the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It may also mean just focusing on one’s awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness can be used in meditation or therapy, but it also can be used every day.
Mindful eating is when you can focus on the actually act of eating. It can be so many things like, chewing slowly to enjoy the texture of the food on your tongue, enjoying a meal with friends and focusing on the conversation, sitting down to a nightly meal with family so you can learn more about each other’s day. It also can be things like, being conscious of WHY you are eating, taking time to breath and ask yourself if you are eating because you are bored/tired/emotional or because you are actually hungry. When do you stop eating, could it be possible you were happily sated 5 mouthfuls ago and yet you kept shovelling food in for some other reason. Mindful eating can be applied to a lot of situations. It is particularly relevant this Christmas time when overeating and over drinking are not only common but expected. I don’t mean to take the fun out of Christmas day, I think a big part of enjoying it is to not be stingy, be generous, be giving, enjoy yourself, and if the Christmas pudding or pavlova was too delicious to say no to a second helping, then go for it. Just be thoughtful, conscious and aware of why you are doing it.
For me part of this consciousness means waking the next day and asking myself, if I am really hungry for breakfast. Chances are I feel like a great big vegetable juice with lots of water and can just allow my body to continue to digest, process and fuel itself from the food I have eaten, rather than starting the whole thing again.
How to be mindful this Christmas:
- Take a moment to really feel if you are hungry or something else
- Drink water with your meal to help slow down the scoffing
- Chew every bite with consideration and intention
- Indulge in seconds if you really want to, just understand why you are doing it
- Be conscious of the wonderful opportunity to spend precious time with loved ones