We are a nation of multi-taskers. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. We get a lot done. Other times—during mealtime, say—it’s a recipe for indigestion, weight gain and misery.
How can you bring order to disordered eating? In a word, mindfulness—living fully in the moment so you can appreciate what you are doing, eating, thinking and feeling in an objective and non-judgmental way.
To bring mindfulness to the table, start by sitting calmly away from any distraction (we’re looking at you iPad, iPhone and TV). Take a deep breath and:
- focus on what you are eating (the color, texture, taste, mouth feel) so you can truly savor (and later remember) the experience.
Why it’s a good thing: Food becomes an aesthetic pleasure (true comfort food), not a drug or the enemy. It fills all your senses.
- eat more slowly and with greater awareness so you can identify the physical signs of hunger, satiety and satisfaction.
Why it’s a good thing: You get to know what your body needs (and find you may not need to eat as much).
- remember how the food makes you feel before, during and after eating so you can separate emotional cues from actual physical hunger.
Why it’s a good thing: You can pre-empt negative emotions (shame, panic, anxiety) that you may feel around food and that fuel overeating and guilt.
- make your own informed decisions about portion size and servings so you can take control of what and how much you eat.
Why it’s a good thing: You see food as nourishment, not a way to fill an emotional void or satisfy others’ expectations.
Just getting started on a mindfulness practice? Check out the Mindfulness Daily app, whose prompts and techniques make it easy to incorporate mindful living every day.