When you switch to mindful eating, you are no longer controlling your food and how much you can eat, sitting with a bag of chips and just eating until the bag is empty, or cleaning your plate during every meal. When you are mindful, you are focusing on the present moment, which includes using all of your senses during your meal.
Your Senses Help You Stay in the Moment During a Meal
By focusing on each of your senses during a meal, you will be able to ground yourself and stay mindful. It is a helpful technique especially in the beginning when you are used to mindless eating. This is something that tends to be more surprising to new mindful eaters since they never really considered it before. But a big part of focusing your attention on how your meal is about figuring out which senses are triggered and how you feel about it.
Activating Your Senses
To start using all your senses while you are eating, start with just one at a time.
Sight – How does your meal look? What colors do you see? Can you see the different textures of the foods in your meal?
Sound – When you cut into your food or bite into it, what sounds does it make? Are these satisfying noises or do they change your perspective on the meal?
Smell – How does it smell? What flavors and seasonings can you pick out? Does it smell good or bad to you?
Taste – What does it taste like? It is salty or sweet? Does it have any spice? Was it seasoned enough or not enough? What flavors are your favorite?
Touch – How does the food feel in your mouth? Is it soft or crunchy? Is it easy to chew or a little tough?
Start By Eating in Silence
This is much easier to do when you sit quietly while eating, instead of listening to a podcast or watching a show on Netflix. If you are eating with someone else, they will probably chat with you, so it’s hard to actually pay attention to your food. When watching something, you tend to eat mindlessly, which isn’t going to be very beneficial for you.
Remember it is okay to have some meals where you are distracted, but while practicing mindful eating, try to eat in a calm, quiet, peaceful environment as much as possible.