Mindful eating: Question 3 & 4

So, I have spent the past few days trying to integrate questions 1 and 2 when I sit down to eat–Am I really hungry and do I spend 20 minutes on every meal.  Assessing my degree of hunger has been helpful.  Last night we had pizza and I have to say that normally I would easily eat three or four pieces mainly because I love the taste of it.  However, I realized when I checked in with  my stomach that I wanted to stop after two pieces and I felt great. I wasn’t super full and I had leftovers which I love.

I still need to work on spending twenty minutes on every meal.  Not sure how to do that yet, but I’ll pursue it and welcome ideas.

The next two questions Susan Albers,PsyD,  suggests you ask yourself are: “Do you use all of your senses when you eat?” and “Do you multitask at meals?”  I love the idea of using all my senses when I’m eating.  Sight, smell, taste, texture, and even the noises around you– not that they are always pleasant. 

I decided to practice using all my senses.   I seriously wanted to eat one of our vegan chocolate chip cookies from our café.  (These cookies are legendary in small circles).  I stopped what I was doing, took a deep breath, took a second to smell the cookie, broke a piece off and noticed how moist it was and then I ate it.  It was amazing how taking a breath before I ate it helped me become more mindful to everything around me–the music playing, the release of tension in my neck as I exhaled.  And smelling the cookie first whet my appetite.  The funny thing though, was that after I ate three bites I found that I didn’t really want more than that. It was delicious, but oddly it was all I wanted.  I believe had I not taken the moment beforehand I would have eaten that whole cookie without giving it too much thought.  So, I shared the rest of the cookie and felt satisfied.

Question 4–multitasking. I’m not one to drive and eat, but am certainly guilty of eating while reading, eating while emailing and grabbing bites in between tasks at the store.  I LOVE READING the paper and eating my breakfast. So what would it mean to give that up?  Would I really enjoy my food more?  This is one I’ll have to experiment with.  My guess is I will not give up eating and reading the paper. 

A Note on the pictures:  I couldn’t figure out how to show the captions on these so this is why I included them.  The first one shows my son and his buddy eating  some smoothie pops last summer.  I love it because they were so thoroughly enjoying ever part of eating it–the taste, the coldness of it, the goo dripping down their hands and they ate them slowly.  If I’d been in the picture next to them, it would have shown my smoothie pop half-eaten and I imagine no drips on my hand.  They really are “hands on” with their food.

And the second photo is from a  farm dinner we did at the Local Harvest Café. It was one of the first dinners and I loved that salad because it was simple, beautiful, delicious and fresh, and I savored every bite when I ate it.  It is a good reminder of the pleasure of food. 

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