Mindful Eating and Chewing

Eating mindlessly seems to be one of the main concerns I hear from clients each and everyday.  “How do I stop mindlessly eating?” or “What can I do to avoid the cabinets when I’m bored/tired/anxious?” I find that many clients tend to stuff food into their mouths while working on the computer, watching TV or on the run.  We must learn to enjoy the pleasure of eating and take the time to slow down to experience all the elements of our food. 

Mindless Eating Tips

Here are a few tips to help you each time you eat a meal.  Take the time to notice the difference in the way you feel and learn to savor your meals.

  • Sight-Look at your food and analyze your meal-realize what you are about to ingest before you eat.
  • Smell-Take a deep breath; experience smelling the food and describe to yourself what you smell.
  • Physiological Reaction-Focus on what is going on in your mouth-Saliva is produced even though you have not yet put the food into your mouth.  Notice the mid/body phenomenon and how the senses respond to the anticipation of food being eaten.
  • Touch-How does the food feel?
  • Movement and Motion-Observe the process of eating: Food to mouth, mouth to tongue, food stuck in teeth.
  • Taste-Become aware of the food in your mouth-start biting into it very slowly. Begin to Chew.  Give all your attention to your mouth and take a few bites-STOP. Experience what is happening.  Describe the experience of tasting.
  • Texture- As you continue to CHEW-the Consistency changes, as well.  Try to chew as long as you can before swallowing-take time to fully chew each bite and savor the different flavors with each chew.
  • Swallow- Do not swallow until you must do so and after you have completely CHEWED your food.  Observe the swallowing sensation and know that your body is now exactly one bite heavier.
  • Breath- Pause for a moment or two and see if you can taste your breath in a similar way.  Bring the same quality of attention to the breath that you gave to smelling, feeling, seeing, and tasting the food.
  • Silence-Be Silent.  Realize you are eating, chewing, enjoying and paying attention to your meal.

Chewing Tips

Eating begins with the basic act of chewing.  Try counting the chews of every bite you take-aim for 30 to 50 chews and put your fork down between bites. 

  • Chew every mouthful of food at least 30 times until the food becomes liquid.
  • Chewing breaks down the food to make it easier for your body to digest.
  • Saliva assists in the digestion of carbs.  It also makes the food more alkaline, which creates less gas.
  • Take deep breaths, chew, let the simple act of CHEWING relax you. 

Before You Eat

  • Wash your hands.
  • Turn off your television, radio, phones.
  • Do not read.
  • Find a quiet place to eat.
  • Sit DOWN.
  • Light a candle or play soft music.
  • Stretch, breathe.
  • Align your posture and breathe.

During your Meal

  • Place a small piece of food in your mouth.
  • Put your utensils down.
  • Place your hands together while chewing.
  • Begin chewing and deep breathing.
  • TASTE each flavor-savor each chew-figure out what tastes you are experiencing.
  • Concentrate on your eating.
  • Look at your food or close your eyes partially or fully.

Post Eating

  • Sit and relax after your meal.
  • Take a light stroll.
  • Realize what you have eaten and describe those tastes to yourself.
  • Wait 25-30 minutes before you realize that you are full.
  • Drink a glass of water.

How do you savor each meal? Do you find yourself mindlessly eating out of habit?  Try to work with the above tips on counting your chews and savoring each meal experience.  Try writing down the tastes and flavors that you experience with each food and how you feel before and after these exercises.  I assure you, your stomach will thank you and your body will be able to easily digest your foods if you take your time, chew each food completely and place yourself in a relaxing environment.

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Amie | 
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