The festive season has our calendar lined up with back to back gathering with friends, and really — who can resist coffee talks and Christmassy brunch menus! But let’s pause for a second and fast forward to January 2017. Do we really want to struggle with the effects of overeating in the new year, groaning on the mats about the drop in our fitness level and health?
Let’s talk about mindful eating.
Also known as intuitive eating, mindful eating is not a diet. As complicated as “mindfulness” can sound, to eat mindfully is simply about how you eat. It involves paying 100% attention to the experience of eating and drinking. Mindful eating is also not about the will power to stop entirely. People like freedom and the binge can hit back like a boomerang.
Mindful eating requires only mini mental adjustments to help avoid succumbing to triggers and temptations that pull you into overeating of the too rich and unhealthy food and drinks. This prevents us from the onset of fatigue, sluggish and crumbling digestive system. Being more aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat, and the emotions and thoughts that you have about food.
So, how do we eat mindfully?
Mindless eating occurs when we roll on autopilot just trying to survive yet another hectic day, or in this instance, distractions at the feasting dinner table paired by good conversations with friends. More often than not, we inhale food without tasting the real flavours of the ingredients that put together our meal.
Tip 1. Chew slower! Stuffing our faces can be joy-inducing, we all have those moments. But while spirits are high, relax the inner mind and slow down. There’s no rush in finishing main course to get to desserts, then to dessert round 2. Savour your food and taste the Christmas flavours in your meals. There’s so much that goes into a simple dish — give food a little more respect!
Tip 2: Eat in small amount. When the table is spilling over with food, we have the tendency to stack our plates with 3 pieces of this, and 5 pieces of that. Food seems to be endless so why not take more, right? Nope. Over-stacking your plate will either lead to over-consumption, or wastage. Take in small amount, and go back for more if you like that particular dish!
Tip 3: Give thanks. Someone went through a lot in the kitchen to prepare this delicious meal for you. Enjoy the taste, feel the texture. Speaking about the food with your friends can be a good way to introduce mindful eating to the table. Shared practice of mindfulness is always a good stepping stone.
Written by Shena, yoga teacher at YOCO