If you’ve invested time and energy into researching how to improve your health, you’ve likely come across the concept of mindful eating. Although a common exercise involves the contemplation of a single raisin, there are other ways to take steps toward creating deeper connections with your food. Mindful eating is the act of paying attention to how the flavor, smell, and texture of food make you feel. Whether you’re striving for better emotional well-being or seeking mental clarity from your mindfulness practice, a natural space to dip a toe in the waters is to incorporate the practice into food preparation and eating.
Take the First Step
To begin, keep a food journal for 4–5 days. Then, spend some time reviewing your eating habits. Does that usual mid-morning banana give you a much-needed boost? Does that late afternoon coffee run leave you jittery at bedtime? Take a look at the foods that you've eaten while feeling stressed or emotional and remember how you felt afterward. Plan to take a break from anything that doesn’t make you feel great.
Make a Connection
From there, make a date with yourself to go to the grocery store. Spend at least a half hour of uninterrupted time really looking at, smelling, and trying samples of produce. Think about which foods are the healthiest, instead of which are the most emotionally comforting. Take the time to contemplate where the food came from, and all the people involved in its growth, harvest, and journey to the store. Cultivating a connection with your food can bring you to that emotional space every time you eat.
If there's a specific food you associate with “cheating," those are often consumed in a sort of shameful fugue. When you do choose to enjoy those foods, do so slowly, savoring each taste and observing how it makes you feel while (and after) you eat it. By incorporating mindfulness into your “cheat days” you can avoid the urge to mindlessly stuff yourself with junk food.
Listen to Your Body
Another useful tool is to keep to a schedule and pay attention to your body. When you’re alone, stressed, or just trying to “fill the tank,” you’re more likely to lose track of your body’s signals that it’s full. Make a conscious effort to listen to the signs your body gives you (low energy, stomach growling, etc.) and commit to eating only when your body needs to be refueled.Once you’re set up with food that inspires you, it’s time to give it a try. Press pause on multitasking and eat in silence for a few minutes. Give your full attention to each bite. The only thing you have to lose is the mind’s daily clutter.
We married our passion for food with science of you to bring you the world's most complete personalized nutrition solution. As the antidote to the one-size-fits-all diet world, Habit helps you discover how to eat right for your own biology. We're here to help you feed the best version of you.