Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mindfulness when eating

Mindfully (?) eating beetroot for first time

I've just been reading a couple of Diminishing Lucy's posts, and realising that I have to face the fact that my jeans are becoming uncomfortably tight. I would like to try and ignore it, but I think the consequences of me doing that are fairly predictable. Instead, I am going to try and eat mindfully. Eating is pretty automatic, so how do we eat mindfully? Well, the main thing is to make sure that when you eat, that is all you do. In other words, don't try and multi task. Don't eat at the computer, or in front of the tv. 

With mindfulness, (when it comes to eating, or anything else), not only is it important to make sure that that is the only thing you are doing, but also to involve and concentrate on all your senses. That is, really looking at the food, smelling it, lingering over the taste, the feel, the chewing, the swallowing, all the sensations of eating. Have you ever really eaten like this? I would have thought I had, until I had to do an exercise where we had to eat a single raisin, but took about 5 minutes to do it. I really thought this was the most stupid time-wasting exercise that couldn't possible achieve anything. It was about half way through the exercise, after I had managed to empty my head of all the 'this is stupid and pointless' thoughts, and the anxiety had started subsiding, that I truly tasted the raisin, and thought 'oh, my god this is SO SWEET! Raisins can't possibly be this sweet!!'. I realised then that I had never come close to eating mindfully. 

Even though I learnt this lesson, that I found really powerful, I don't eat mindfully on a day to day basis. More often, as a mum, I am grabbing something in a hurry, eating it quickly so that I can get onto the next job/errand/etc, or trying to multi task so that I can justify a bit of blogging, or watching taped Offspring in the middle of the day. 
This week, I am going to try and eat mindfully. I know that it will be hard, so I am going to try and be kind to myself, but I at least want to eat 1 meal and day mindfully, or at least a cup of tea.

Is eating mindfully something you do or have done?
I challenge you to eat a raisin (or sultana, currant, or whatEVER!) truly mindfully.


  1. This is something I think of from time to time, especially during pregnancy when I has gestational diabetes. I had to be careful and thoughtful of what I ate which helped me manage my weight. Sad thing is that once it was over, I let loose and went back to my usual vices of chocolate and carbs (usually cakes, cookies, etc). So much so that after this 2nd pregnancy with GDM, I've probably got a bigger belly 4 months on than I had shortly after birth! I know it's so easy just to chuck chocolate into my mouth, chomp it to bits and start again. The times I chose to savour a square nibble by nibble and let it melt before I swallowed it, I probably did appreciate it more and eat less. I think you are right in that living in a rushed state, we treat our meals that way far too often. I am thinking about that a lot of late and have to start trying to eat mindfully again.

  2. Uh huh. Uh huh. I'd better try to join you in this endeavour! You see, unlike many mums I actually stack on weight after giving birth, in spite of breastfeeding and lots of walking/riding. And I think it's because I'm SO out of tune with my actual body needs and I just stuff things down, letting all the tiredness and knotted-stomach-from-tantrums become confused with actual hunger. My jeans are getting tighter too... time to tune back in.