This article is perfect for those who want a comprehensive yet simple guide to mindful eating as a meditative practice. In this article, we also teach you various effective mindful eating practices and tips to help you stay present, slow down, and enjoy the foods you love most.
Common sense tells us that to lose weight, we must eat less and exercise more. But somehow we get stalled. We start on a weight-loss program with good intentions but cannot stay on track. Neither the countless fad diets nor the annual spending of $50 billion on weight loss helps us feel better or lose weight. Too many of us are in a cycle of shame and guilt.
We spend countless hours worrying about what we ate or if we exercised enough, blaming ourselves for actions that we can’t undo. We are stuck in the past and unable to live in the present—that moment in which we do have the power to make changes in our lives.
This is why, we on Prokensho teach you how to easily adopt the practice of mindfulness and integrate it into eating, exercise, and all facets of our daily life so that being conscious and present becomes a core part of your being. It is the awareness of the present moment, the realization of why we do what we do, that enables us to stop feeling bad and start changing our behavior.
Mindful eating not only helps us achieve the healthy weight and well-being we seek, but it also brings to the surface the rich abundance of life available to us in every moment. The results of mindful eating are both global and personal. Eating a meal in mindfulness shows practitioners that the whole universe is supporting them.
This awareness helps develop compassion and understanding, reminding practitioners that there are things they can do to help nourish people who are hungry and lonely. Encouraging moderation, mindful eating can lead to optimum health and body weight, while diminishing waste, and contributing to a healthier society.
Scientific studies indicate that meditation contributes tremendously to well-being, general health, and longevity. What would it be like to savor your food? Instead of grabbing a quick snack on your way out the door or eating just to calm down at the end of a stressful day, isn’t it about time you let yourself truly appreciate a satisfying, nourishing meal?
The breakthrough approach in Eating Mindfully has helped thousands of people use mindfulness-based psychological practices to take charge of cravings, so they can eat when they are hungry and stop when they feel full.
So, this platform is for all those who would like to improve their relationship with food. Whether you have a moderate tendency to overeat, as so many of us do, or whether you are struggling with obesity, bulimia, anorexia, or other such problems, this platform is for you.
Also Read: 16 Yoga Poses For Weight Loss & Muscle Tone
Table of Contents
I. Mindful Eating: What Does It Mean to Be Mindful While Eating?
To cultivate mindfulness, we can do the same things we always do—walking, sitting, working, eating, and so on—with mindful awareness of what we are doing. When we’re eating, we know that we are eating. When we open a door, we know that we’re opening a door. Our mind is with our actions.
When you put a piece of fruit into your mouth, all you need is a little bit of mindfulness to be aware: “I am putting a piece of apple in my mouth.” Your mind doesn’t need to be somewhere else. If you’re thinking of work while you chew, that’s not eating mindfully. When you pay attention to the apple, that is mindfulness. Then you can look more deeply, and in just a very short time you will see the apple seed, the beautiful orchard and the sky, the farmer, the picker, and so on. A lot of work is in that apple!
II. Intuitive Eating Meaning?
Remember: Nothing Comes from Nothing. With just a little bit of mindfulness, you can truly see where your bread comes from. It has not come from anything. Bread comes from the wheat fields, from hard work, and the baker, the supplier, and the seller. But the bread is more than that.
The wheat field needs clouds and sunshine. So in this slice of bread, there is sunshine, there is cloud, there is the labor of the farmer, the joy of having flour, and the skill of the baker, and then—miraculously! —there is the bread.
The whole cosmos has come together so that this piece of bread can be in your hand. You don’t need to do a lot of hard work to get this insight. You only need to stop letting your mind carry you away with worrying, thinking, and planning.
III. Mindful Eating versus Mindless Eating
Mindless eating can be described as Eating without Thinking. When we eat we usually think. We can enjoy our eating a lot more if we practice not thinking when we eat. We can just be aware of the food. Sometimes we eat, and we’re not aware that we’re eating. Our mind isn’t there.
When our mind isn’t present, we look but we don’t see, we listen but we don’t hear, we eat but we don’t know the flavor of the food. This is a state of forgetfulness, the lack of mindfulness. To be truly present we have to stop our thinking. This is the secret of success and mindful eating.
IV. How to Eat Mindfully?
By Slowing Down: When we can slow down and enjoy our food, our life takes on a much deeper quality. I love to sit and eat quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food.
When I eat in this way, not only am I physically nourished, I am also spiritually nourished. The way I eat influences everything else that I do during the day. Eating is as important a time for meditation as sitting or walking mediation time. It’s a chance to receive the many gifts of the Earth that I would not otherwise benefit from if my mind were elsewhere.
Here is a verse I like to recite when I eat:
In the dimension of space and time, we chew as rhythmically as we breathe. Maintaining the lives of all our ancestors, Opening an upward path for descendants.
We can use the time of eating to nourish the best things our relatives have passed onto us and to transmit what is most precious to future generations.
V. Mindful Eating: The Art of Paying Attention to Just Two Things
While we eat, we can try to pay attention to just two things: the food that we’re eating and our friends who are sitting around us and eating with us. This is called mindfulness of food and mindfulness of community. Eating mindfully, we become aware of all the work and energy that has gone into bringing the food to us. If we are eating with others, we can notice how wonderful it is that during this sometimes hectic life we can find the time to sit together in a relaxed way like this to enjoy a meal. When you can breathe, sit, and eat together with your family or friends in mindfulness, this is called true community-building.
Pay attention to each spoonful of food. As you bring it up to your mouth, use your mindfulness to be aware that this food is the gift of the whole universe. The Earth and the sky have collaborated to bring this spoonful of food to you. While breathing in and out, you only need a second or two to recognize this.
We eat in such a way that every morsel of food, every moment of eating has mindfulness in it. It takes only a few seconds to see that the food we’re holding in our spoon is the gift of the whole cosmos. While we chew, we maintain that awareness. When we chew, we know that the whole universe is there in that bite of food.
Also Read: How To Manage Stress? – Six Mindful Tips
VI. Mindful Eating Techniques
1. Mindful Eating Technique #1: Breathing Comes First
The first thing to do when you sit down with your bowl of food is to stop thinking and be aware of your breathing. Breathe in such a way that you are nourished. You are nourished by your breathing and you nourish other people with your practice of breathing. We nourish one another.
2. Mindful Eating Technique #2: Turning off the TV
Sometimes people eat while watching tv. But even if you turn off the tv, the tv in your mind continues to run. So you have to also stop the tv in your head. If there is thinking still going on in your mind, you’ll be dispersed. To be truly present you need to not just turn off the television or radio in your house, you need to turn off the conversation and images in your head.
3. Mindful Eating Technique #3: How Much Is Enough
We don’t need to eat a lot to feel nourished. When we are fully there and alive for every morsel of food, we eat in a way that each bite fills us with peace and happiness. If we are full of this joy, we may find that we naturally feel satisfied with less food.
4. Mindful Eating Technique #4: Preparing a Meal
When you prepare a meal with artful awareness, it’s delicious and healthy. You have put your mindfulness, love, and care into the meal, then people will be eating your love. People can fully enjoy the meal with body and mind, just like you enjoy a beautiful work of art. Eating is not only nourishing for the body but also the mind.
5. Mindful Eating Technique #5: The Kitchen
The kitchen can be a meditative practice space if we practice mindful awareness while we are cooking and cleaning there. We can set an intention to execute our tasks in a relaxed and serene way, following our breathing and keeping our concentration on what we are doing. If we are working with others, we may only need to exchange a few words about the work at hand.
6. Mindful Eating Technique #6: Cooking without Rushing
While cooking, allow enough time so you don’t feel rushed. If we are aware that our bodies and those of our loved ones depend on the food we’re preparing, this awareness will guide us to cook healthy food infused with our love and mindful attention.
7. Mindful Eating Technique #7: Practicing Peace while Chopping Vegetables
Peace can be practiced while chopping vegetables, cooking, washing dishes, watering the vegetable garden, and also while driving or working. Practice releasing the tension in body and mind and being complete with your task. The time when you work in the kitchen is also the time for meditation.
8. Mindful Eating Technique #8: Setting the Table
Eating a meal in mindfulness is an important practice. We turn off the tv, put down our newspaper, and work together for five or ten minutes, setting the table and finishing whatever needs to be done.
During these few minutes, we can be very happy. When the food is on the table, and everyone is seated, we practice breathing. “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile,” we repeat three times. We can recover ourselves completely after three breaths like this.
9. Mindful Eating Technique #9: Cooking with Joy
Cooking can bring us a lot of joy. When I put the water into the basin for washing the vegetables, I look deeply at the water to see its wonderful nature. I see that the water comes from high in the mountains or from deep within the Earth right into our kitchen. I know that there are places where people have to walk several miles just to carry back a pail of water on their shoulders.
Here, water is available whenever I turn on the tap. Aware of the preciousness of clean water, I value the water that is available to me. I also value the electricity that I use to turn on a light or to boil water. I only need to be aware that there is water and electricity easily accessible to me, and I can be happy straight away.
When I am peeling vegetables or cooking them, I can do it in mindfulness and with love. I see cooking as a way to offer nourishment and care to my family and friends. I will easily find joy and peace in the work. Looking deeply at a tomato, a bunch of grapes, or a piece of tofu, I can see the wonderful nature of these things, how they were nurtured by the soil, the sun, the rain, and the seed.
Try to organize your life so that you have enough time and energy to cook in a leisurely and peaceful way. The energy of love and harmony in the kitchen will penetrate the food that you’re cooking to offer to your loved ones and yourself.
10. Mindful Eating Technique #10: Take Your Time
It’s good to take time to eat because the time for a meal can be very happy. Take time to enjoy your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy your meal. Stop the thinking and be there fully, body and mind.
VII. Eating Mindfully Exercise:
1. Mindful Eating Exercise #1: Healing
When we eat mindfully, we consume exactly what we need to keep our bodies, our minds, and the Earth healthy. When we practice like this, we reduce suffering for ourselves and others. We begin to heal ourselves and can help heal the world. As a spiritual family and as the human family, we can all help make our lives more sustainable by following this practice.
2. Mindful Eating Exercise #2: Turning off the Radio
To eat with joy, we have to turn off “Radio NST”: Non-Stop Thinking. Even if our bodies are sitting still while we eat, usually our minds are racing. To truly be present for our meal, we have to stop the constant internal dialogue.
To eat without thinking is to eat in freedom. We are free because we’re not thinking about the past, the future, and our projects. We are free to be sitting, whether alone or with loved ones, and enjoying our meal.
3. Mindful Eating Exercise #3: Eating Mindfully Is a Practice
When we eat our meal, we should show up for that meal 100 percent. Eating mindfully is a practice. If we choose to drink a cup of tea in mindfulness, the pleasure of drinking tea will more than double because we are truly there, and the tea is also truly there. Life is real; it’s not a dream when mindfulness is there.
4. Mindful Eating Exercise #4: Eating in Silence
Sometimes, it can be helpful to have a silent meal to help us practice mindful eating. That way, we can focus our attention on our breath, the food, and the company around us to become fully present in the here and now.
5. Mindful Eating Exercise #5: Nourished by the present moment
In our daily activities, we often rush from one thing to another. In between tasks we spend our time planning how we’ll accomplish future tasks. In all that hurrying and strategizing, we become isolated from the present moment. Eating is a chance to return to the present moment and stop the rushing and the planning.