Mindful Eating

Mindfulness “allows us to meet the full catastrophe of the human condition. Difficult things happen, terrifying things happen, unwanted things happen, but the real question is how we’re going to be in relationship to them. That’s the challenge. And that’s what mindfulness is about.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

You may ask what mindfulness has to do with eating?? What actually is mindfulness?

In the fast paced world we live in of shuttling kids to friend’s houses, sports and endless activities, do you find that you grab food on the go for your teenagers and for yourself? Do you enjoy what you are eating when you are driving or rushing out the door??

Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting, patient, trusting and nonjudgemental focus on one’s emotions, thoughts and sensations during the practice of meditation. We can apply these intentions to the process of eating for ourselves and our teenagers. The interrelationship we have with food depends on the depth of our mindful practice.

“Letting go” of our attachments to food is a fundamental step in creating healthy eating habits for our teens and ourselves. “Holding on” to attachments towards unhealthy eating patterns is the opposite of letting go. Holding on to the belief that our teenagers need to eat certain foods is our own attachment to food. Can we let go and be willing to accept the way they choose to eat and how much they eat? Can we trust that if we set an example and become mindful around food and make healthy choices that our children too many follow in our footsteps? This will not likely happen overnight as we may wish but my path to living a healthier lifestyle took many, many years and is still evolving. It is a process!

Steps Towards Mindful Eating:

  • Examine Your Emotions: So it is late at night and the chocolate cake is calling your name in the refrigerator. Are you bored? Are you really hungry? Are you PMS? What is the trigger for craving the chocolate cake?  Last week when I was stressed about sending off my oldest son to college I found myself craving my favorite dark chocolate, Taza chocolate. I realized that I was feeding my emotions- the loss of my son going off to college. Of course, I still enjoyed every morsel of the chocolate but if you can be mindful of the purpose the food serves this can be helpful in making healthier choices.
  • Savor the Flavor: Do you ever sit down to a meal and not remember the tastes, the texture and the smell of the food you just consumed? Mindful eating allows you to savor food and naturally results in healthier choices.
  • Plate your Food: Ahhhh! Think how many times you grab something out of the cabinet or fridge and run out the door. Putting the food on a plate allows you to acknowledge what you are eating and how much you are eating.
  • Take Away Distractions: Is the television on when you sit to dinner with your children? Are they checking their texts on their phones obsessively? Taking these distractions away will automatically create more mindful eating and allow the family to be “in the now” during your dinner.

Enjoy your beautiful meal created with love with your children tonight…

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