“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
― Lily Tomlin
I asked our nutrition expert Kim Evans to share her thoughts on slowing down and being mindful while eating –
I want to talk to you a little bit about mindful eating. What I don’t want to do is make you feel like you have yet another thing to think about related to your eating. The basic principles of mindful eating are to engage more with your food. This can include engaging in your shopping experience by being aware of patterns and habits around foods your routinely purchase. It can also include engage with more attunement to your own body to know what you are hungry for, and why, as well as getting the “I have had enough” message from your body when you need it. As a nutrition coach I love the practice of mindfully engaging with food for the experience of getting to know the smells, the textures, and the taste of the food we are eating. This type of mindful eating practice invites us to slow down and think of meals as mini-meditative opportunities. Permission to push the pause button and move from on the go, sympathetic nervous living, to rest and digest (or tend and befriend), parasympathetic nervous system living. Most of us have a hard time with this practice as it feels foreign to our usual busy lifestyle. But truly the spirit of mindful eating is as much about the times you are able to slow down and tune into the eating experience, as it is about the times you are not. These “I did not quite get it right today” moments are the golden opportunities to grow wise and strong through softening. Let’s say you decide to embrace mindful Monday’s or you set a lofty goal of eating all meals mindfully and life gets in your way. Ask yourself, what would invite balance into your day? Would it be to scold yourself for not being able to perfectly execute your plan? I am guessing not. Mindfulness practices are about a dance to curiosity and awareness to serve to make everyday life more at ease.
So yes, pay attention to your hunger and fullness. Slow down and notice the textures and tastes of your food. Try eating in a fully present, non-distracted way. Enjoy the company and surroundings of your meal time, you are great company too…by the way.
Food should be a source of joy that feeds the mind and the body, not about bringing home the “I did it right” trophy.
Over the next month here are some fun practices you might add to your day:
- Can I slow down and notice what my stomach is trying to tell me?
- Can I notice the smells, textures, colors, and flavors of the food on my plate with a curious mind?
- Did my food inspire me today?
- Describe your philosophies about eating as if it were a book title.
- What does it look like, on your plate, when you truly show up for yourself?
- Name 5 non-food ways that you nourish yourself.
Kimberly Evans, MS, RD
Whole Health Nutrition
366 Dorset Street Suite 10
South Burlington VT 05403