Ever find yourself rushing through the meal, checking your cell phone, thinking about what you need to get done for the day, all while hardly paying attention to what’s going in your mouth? I’m certainly guilty of this. I am a quick eater and am almost always doing something else while eating, if not a couple of different things! Slowing down and thinking about what you’re eating is important and it’s been shown to help in weight loss too. When you slow down, you really taste food, you’re able to get the signal from your stomach that you’re full much clearer and faster too, so you eat less!
1. Start with small helpings of everything you want to taste, then go back for more later
We tend to pile our plates to the ceiling at the first sign of food. Consider a “sampler” plate, taste everything, then decide what you like most and go back for seconds. That way you’re not eating more than your fill just because it’s on your plate.
2. For every bite of food you eat, think of five adjectives to describe it.
The first few bites will taste like heaven. But stopping to think of five ways to describe every bite will mean you will notice when you no longer want to eat this specific food. The pleasure of the taste of food fades after the first few bites. After that, we just continue to eat automatically. Short-circuiting the mindless eating will help you enjoy your food more and eat just the right amount to nourish your body.
3. Do not guilt yourself.
Tune into your thoughts as you eat. If you hear yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t eat this many mashed potatoes!” “I’m going to weigh 300lbs after all of this!” “I so need to go to spinning class on Monday to make up for this!” or “I’m such a pig!” Stop right there! Putting yourself down will only send you into an automatic stress response that causes you to eat more just to drown out your feelings and the voice of your pesky inner critic. Instead, try to rewire your relationship to food by consciously picking foods that will feel good and nourishing to eat, no matter the calorie count.
4. Tune into the smell, feel, taste, sight, and sound of your food.
Take the time to admire the colors, the texture, the scent, the flavors and the crunch of your food in your mouth. Really feel into the experience of eating and notice how much more you enjoy your food.
5. Think about every step your food took along the way to get to your plate.
Think of the farmers, the drivers, the grocery clerks, the chefs and the members of your family that were involved in the journey of your food. Show them respect by savoring the food with reverence rather than hastily shoving it down your throat without a thought.
6. Notice the moment your mind goes, “Should I eat this next bite?”
The moment that happens, stop eating. As long as your body is wholeheartedly ready for food, food is nourishing. The moment there is hesitancy about whether body or mind wants food, then any more food consumption is excessive. Remember, you can always go back for leftovers later!
7. Think from a place of abundance, not lack.
Sometimes, worries about not getting your favorite piece of turkey or the gravy running out can get in the way of your meal. That’s because you may inherently believe that there isn’t enough for everyone in this world. Shift your mentality to abundance and remind yourself that there is enough for you and everyone else to enjoy. Whatever you don’t get a chance to partake in today, you can get again elsewhere or later. And more importantly, you can still have a wonderful time basking in the warmth of family and friends even if you don’t get to eat a slice of your aunt’s famous pumpkin pie.
8. Honor your body through your food.
We may often forget, but food is primarily there to fuel our bodies. Enjoying good tasting food is really an added benefit but not necessary to survival. So take the time to thank your body for all its hard work, for carrying you through every day, for keeping you breathing every second of your life, and even for letting you enjoy the taste of the food you eat! Show your love by eating your food with the intention of honoring this amazing and miraculous mechanism that makes you.
9. Think about those less fortunate than you.
Call to mind a homeless person or a family suffering poverty that you know or have heard about. Send them a silent prayer for abundance and blessing and take the time to feel gratitude in your heart for the security you have in your life.
10. Take the time to verbally thank the people who made the meal.
It’s because of their tireless work and their love and care that you are happy, satisfied and nourished today.
These ten tips will ensure you eat with a fuller heart, a calmer mind, and a little extra space in your belly for some pie or wine!