Do you gobble up your meals or enjoy them in peace?

Usually when you eat, do you gobble up the food as quickly as possible - even if you were not in a hurry - and perhaps being somewhere else in your thoughts realizing that once again you ate way too much? Or do you direct your full attention to eating; to the color, scent and taste of the food as well as your own sensations of hunger or satiety from food?

Mindful eating means focusing on the meal and eating, i.e. simply calming down when eating so that you can be aware of every bite and sip. This way you have time to notice how the feeling of satiety forms and enjoy the food with all your senses. When you are consciously present while eating, you might be surprised how different both eating and your state of being after a meal will feel! Mindful eating is an excellent way to practice being in the moment and enjoying it. Below are a few tips for you. 

  • Stop before you start eating. Breathe in and out a few times. You can name the food portions in front of you and the drink in your mind.
  • Do all mealtime activities slowly. Take time to perform each procedure and note how you feel about them.
  • When you lift your fork or cut meat, fish or vegetables, notice how it feels. When you put a piece of food in your mouth, pause for a moment before you start chewing.
  • Observe the taste and texture of the food, as if you were tasting that food for the first time. Chew your food carefully. You can slow down eating by putting the cutlery down between each bite.
  • Pause your meal by consciously taking deep breaths at regular intervals, and listen to how full your stomach is. 
  • Do certain thoughts or feelings come to mind during a meal? If this happens, make a note of them as well. Pay attention to how you feel when you finish your meal.

Do you usually eat with a friend or partner? Or do you mostly eat alone? It can be interesting to observe your mind and feelings when you eat in interaction with other people and when you eat alone. You can also write down the thoughts and feelings that appear while eating. 

If you want, try eating or drinking tea also in complete silence. By eating consciously, we also pay more attention to the quantity and quality of the food we eat. At the same time, we get a chance for a relaxing moment that tickles our senses.

Read more: Cheung, L. & Nhat Hanh, T. 2013. Maistele ja nauti. Tasapainoiseksi tietoisen syömisen avulla. Basam Books Oy. Helsinki.