My slow(ing) road to mindful eating
Have you ever come across the following sentences: ‘‘couldn’t be bothered eating lunch’’ or ‘‘I guess I kinda forgot to eat’’? I have. Both from people around me and from social media.
And listen, while I usually consider emotional intelligence to be my forte, I find it absolutely impossible to relate to these statements.
Who are these monsters who can happily skip a meal (and not even notice) while I lull myself to sleep at night thinking about how delicious breakfast will be?
My loving relationship with food is both a blessing and curse: I’m great at cooking, passionate about planet-friendly recipes and have a nose like no other.
On the other hand, I’m terrible at eating slowly, knowing when to stop and, well ... not eating.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with eating and I’m not looking to reduce my intake – but it does sometimes worry me how much food is on my mind.
So, in an attempt to create a more relaxed and down-to-earth
relationship with meal times, I gave mindful eating a go.
Mindful eating is the concept of taking your time while eating to enjoy the smells, textures and present moment.
If done correctly, it can improve your awareness of hunger, reduce stress and lead to better digestion (among other benefits!). Sounds heavenly, no? I was motivated to get rid of my ‘‘storm eating’’ habits, so I started incorporating it into my day-to-day life.
One of my first mindful eating challenges was to get rid of distractions: no eating in front of the TV or my phone.
Thankfully, this was not too hard as I enjoy sharing dishes with my partner.
The problem was that as soon as we started talking, eating mindfully went out of the window and I suddenly looked down to see the plate was wiped clean. Damn!
I then had to counter this fast eating, so I started drinking in between bites and putting down my cutlery.
This worked while I was concentrating, but it did make me feel like I was bored with my meal: who truly enjoys a meal and stops chewing after every mouthful?
If you did this in front of my mum, she’d eye you and ask a passive aggressive question about her dish (she’s French).
After a few weeks of effort, I was ready to give up when I had an epiphany: I already practise mindful eating every time I have a mouthgasm (nothing rude here, folks – it means enjoying your food).
When I eat food that I love and float on a cloud of joy, I am in the present moment.
I was on top of the moon: all it takes, really, is to marvel at how good everything tastes.
Today, I’m still attempting to chill my food excitement out, but I amfocusing more on celebrating meals than being a slow eater.
If you have any tips on eating mindfully, share them with your Neighbourly community.
You might be speaking to a fellow storm eater.