“Every one of us already has the seed of mindfulness. The practice is to cultivate it” – Thich Nhat Hanh
We often talk about mindfulness as “being present” and paying attention to the moment. This is essentially true. However, it’s also about how we act with the wisdom of being present.
For example if we are constantly stressed, practising mindfulness helps us to notice our bodily sensations and thoughts during stressful times. By practising this regularly, we learn to act in more helpful ways to manage the stress. (hint – that’s the wisdom part).
So what does this mean when it comes to mindful eating?
And how can we use wisdom to cultivate mindful eating?
Let’s break down mindful eating into 3 steps to investigate it….
The 3 Steps to Mindful Eating:
Step 1 – Connect with our internal wisdom
When we breathe, slow down and pay attention at meals we learn to:
- listen to our hunger and fullness – we choose food that satisfies our hunger and we stop when we are comfortably full
- notice what foods satisfy us – some days we might choose a salad, other days a steak and other days chocolate!
- listen to our senses – we savour every bite with connection to the smell, sight, taste and texture of our food
- notice and appreciate the eating experience – we can enjoy the table setting, the company we are with and where the food came from
Step 2 – Connect with our outer wisdom
Our outer wisdom is all the external information we have available to make a nutritional choice for us. It might be:
- any nutritional requirements for health conditions we might have
- our food budget
- our cooking skills or
- what foods are available at home or at the restaurant where we are eating
Step 3 – Make wise food choices
Food choices will be different for every person. We all have different health needs, food preferences and bodies. By connecting with both our inner and outer wisdom, we can learn to make a wise food choice for us (as individuals) at any particular moment in time.
And that’s how we cultivate mindful eating.