Learn to Experience Eating Mindfully

The Pleasure of Eating

So often we eat mindlessly. We stuff food into our mouths while working on the computer, watching TV, or when we’re on the run. The pleasure of eating lies in slowing down and fully experiencing all of the elements of food. Take some time to explore each of the following during your next meal and notice the difference.

Mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. In other areas, mindfulness techniques have been proposed as a way to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure.

Mindfulness can transform our struggles with food—and renew our sense of pleasure, appreciation, and satisfaction with eating.

People who are habitually mindful of their current experience are more likely to experience frequent and intense positive emotions, to feel self-sufficient and competent, and to have positive social relationships.
— Sonja Lyubormirsky

The Mindful Eating Starter Kit

Experts suggest starting gradually with mindful eating, eating one meal a day or week in a slower, more attentive manner. Here are some tips (and tricks) from the Harvard Health Letter that may help you get started:

  • Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
  • Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you're a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
  • Use chopsticks if you don't normally use them.
  • Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun's rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.
  • Take small bites and chew well.
  • Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, Am I really hungry? If not, do something else, like reading or going on a short walk.