Welcome to Week Nine!
How did you get on with the ‘mindful raisins’ exercise last week? Could you imagine how this could help you, day-to-day?
Could I tempt you to pop by the forum and share your experiences? Raisin Mindfulness.
This week we’re moving on to mindful eating – and how you can use your mealtimes to create mindful shifts in your life.
How often do you get to the end of a meal without tasting a single mouthful?
Eating is one of the activities that we do most mindlessly. We pile food onto a fork, put it in, chew a couple of times while we’re getting the next forkful ready, pop that in (often before we swallow the last one) and load up the next fork.
We all have to eat. It’s part of staying alive. So if you think you don’t have time to practise mindfulness, how about challenging yourself to take 5 mindful forkfuls, next time you eat?
- Start by taking 3 mindful breaths [see week 1], to bring your focus back to the present moment.
- Look at your plate. See your meal. Notice the colours, the textures, the patterns. Smell your food. Become fully aware of it.
- Put some food on your fork, being aware of the physical sensations as your fingers, hand, wrist, arm and shoulder muscles work together for this.
- Put the food in your mouth and, for a moment, before you chew, allow your focus to rest on the food in your mouth. Put your fork down!
- Now chew your food – slowly, mindfully and with full awareness. Chew for longer than you usually would. Taste it! Be present to the flavours in the different areas of your tongue – and the textures – and even the sounds.
We scarcely chew our food. Yet that’s what teeth are for! Chewing your food breaks it down and allows saliva to start the digestion process. If un-chewed food enters your stomach, the stomach acids have to do the work of your teeth and mouth, which can lead to digestive problems. It is harder for the body to absorb nutrients from food that hasn’t been chewed!
- When you are ready, swallow your food. Pause for a moment, to notice how it feels to eat mindfully. How did your body react to that mouthful?
- Now move on to your next mindful forkful.
Deepak Chopra (a Medical Doctor and spiritual teacher) has proved that eating mindfully helps you to be more aware of the body’s “I’m full” message. It can help you to manage your appetite and to stabilise at your ideal weight.
Want to take this further?
How about becoming aware of the impact your food has on you? One great way is to spend a few days keeping a ‘mood-food diary’.
Draw a line with the hours of the day on it. Write down everything that you eat and drink during the day, against the relevant time. Then, at least once an hour (set yourself an alarm?) write down next to that time how you are feeling – physically, emotionally and mentally.
It doesn’t take long for you to be able to spot trends. And, as we’ve already discussed, awareness is the first step towards change.
There’s a bonus article to accompany this technique, called “Are You Eating Yourself Miserable?”.
How about sharing how you got on – any questions, any insights – over at the forum?
I hope you have a great week.
P.S. Any techy questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get help from a member of my team. Thanks!
P.P.S. Missed a week? Want to revisit any of the techniques? You’ll find a list of all your current modules here: www.ClareJosa.com/members-only