BodyBannerTurn off the TV. Close your laptop. Put away the phone. It’s time to eat, and just eat.

We’ve gotten so busy and used to multi-tasking, that many of us have forgotten how to eat. Dinners feel weird if we’re not watching YouTube or a show on Netflix at the same time.

What should be one of the most pleasurable and relaxing moments of the day often turns into a hurried ritual to silence hunger pangs.

As a result, food is eaten without experiencing its full flavor and enjoyment. We also started losing our ability to hear our bodies tell us when we’re full, and we’ve gotten fatter in the process.

It’s time to go back to the basics and slow down…and also stop eating like a duck.

Lenny: I dunno. Pigs tend to chew. I'd say he eats more like a duck.

Lenny: I dunno. Pigs tend to chew. I’d say he eats more like a duck.

What is mindful eating?

Mindfulness is being fully present with your current experience. This means that your mind is not wandering, but is instead attentively observant of the mental activity and bodily sensations occurring right now.

Mindful eating is nothing more than paying attention to what it feels like to eat.

I bet many of you associate eating meditation with eating like a monk. I know I did. I held an image of eating with my eyes closed, breathing deeply, and chewing 150 times before swallowing. I thought mindful eating was going to turn meals into discipline training, and that did not sound fun at all.

Let go all of those misperceptions.

Like with any meditation, eating meditation should be relaxed and natural. It should never be a strain.

You’re supposed to chew faster than this:

Here’s how I do it.

10 Steps to Eat Mindfully

  1. Make the dinner table free of distractions.
  2. Before starting your meal, take 2-3 breaths, focusing on the sensations of breathing. This will help corral your mind back to the present.
  3. As you breathe, think of something to be grateful for. Food tastes and digests better when you’re happy.
  4. Start to eat and chew normally.
  5. Notice what the food smells like and sounds like as you chew.
  6. Now, place your full awareness in your mouth.
  7. Start with your tongue. Experience what the tongue is sensing– the texture, the flavors, the heat. Also observe how the tongue glides around your food, behaving almost autonomously.
  8. Pay attention to what your teeth feel like when you chew. Notice how the structure and texture of the food changes with each bite.
  9. Observe your body’s urge when it wants to swallow. Don’t try to change or delay it, just notice how quickly or slowly your body wants to swallow once it starts chewing. Establishing this awareness is a key step in preventing overeating.
  10. Finally, pay attention to when you feel satiated. The goal is to identify the moment you’re not hungry and to stop before feeling stuffed.

The Health Benefits presented in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie mode:

If_you_Give_a_Mouse_a_Cookie

If you eat mindfully, your food will taste better.

When your food tastes better, you will appreciate it more.

When you appreciate it more, you’ll want to savor every bite.

When you savor every bite, you’ll chew more slowly.

When you chew more slowly, you will hear your body tell you when it’s full.

When you know that you’re full,

You’ll STOP.

When you stop, you won’t overeat.

When you don’t overeat, you’ll get healthier.

When you’re healthier, you’ll look and feel great!

When you look and feel great, you’ll love yourself more.

When you love yourself more, food will stop being an enemy and start being your friend.

When food is your friend, you’ll dream about your next meal.

When you find yourself dreaming about your next meal,

you will realize that you’re being mindful about being mindful.

And that’s a good rabbit hole to be in.

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Here’s a throwback for you, because being a 2nd grader is so awesome…

They seriously need to bring back Reading Rainbow. LAVAR!

Mindful Tastebuds

As you practice eating mindfully you may experience a heightened taste sensitivity to the foods you normally eat. Things will start tasting too salty, too sweet, or too heavy.

Trust your body. Your tastebuds are readjusting to help you make healthier choices.

Awareness and Overeating.

When you eat mindfully, you’re empowering yourself with awareness. 

Awareness is the key to stop overeating because the moment you know that you’re satiated, it transforms overeating from a mindless bad habit to a choice.

Now, when you’re satiated and still have food on your plate, you will have to make a conscious decision to continue eating or not.

This puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you the opportunity to choose in that moment, whether to implement new habits or to remain as a victim.

This does not mean that you will be perfect every time, nor should you expect to be.

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Man-vs.-Food-caliber temptations.

It is IMPORTANT to not judge yourself or beat yourself up if you are unable resist temptation. Eating habits are complex and deeply ingrained, and therefore will take effort and many small victories before being able to turn it around.

Just remember that your willpower is always stronger when you are optimistic and believe in yourself.

Self-hatred will only bring doubt in your ability to change, keep you stuck, and create a more destructive relationship with food.

Sasha Pivovarova003I believe that the only way to sustainably heal yourself back to your optimal body is with a loving relationship with food. This takes patience. My goal is to educate and arm you with the best foods to eat so that you can have a jump start along the right path.

You can do it! It only takes a 3-week commitment to really get the momentum going in your favor.

Then as your tastebuds will change, you’ll instinctively seek healthier options in all areas of your life, and things will start improving exponentially.

I promise.

Let me know if you need help.

– Matthew

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