One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. – Tony Robbins
When was the last time you tasted something with your tongue? Sounds a bit odd right.
I mean truly tasting the flavor and spices as it bathe’s your tongue. Can you guess the spices that were used in the lunch you ate?
If you can, then you are a genius. But for the people that are always on the go and are busy, I bet they can’t.
Eating is an emotional impulse. Some argue that it’ not, but I beg to differ. The reason I say this is because we have a choice in what we eat. When we decide what we want to eat, we can choose between a salad or a hamburger. If eating was not an emotional impulse then we would be satisfied with carrots, lettuce, soup, broth, broccoli etc…
With the help of corporate marketing our minds have been trained to think “Food brings comfort”. I am sure you have heard of ladies always eating ice-cream when they are sad. Eating comfort foods actually does not solve the personal problem but rather distracts it with sugary flavor.
Our mind and body are very simple. We eat because we are hungry and stop when we are full. Our body triggers the mind when it requires nourishment. But over time, we have lost our mindfulness awareness of what we eat which has led to mindless eating.
The Problem: Mindless eating
Mindless eating research done by Cornell University:
- A diner served free red wine. This red wine was normally bought by the customers. The free wine was labeled “North Dakota” while the paid wine was “California”. The “North Dakota” wine was rated lower in comparison to “California” even though they were the same wine.
The taste of the food that we eat is perceived by our thoughts. The recognition of the flavor comes from deep rooted marketing or emotional response. The marketing culture has created emotional and flavorful expectation in our tongues. The food then recalls these expectations while eating.
This mindless eating puts on more calories and fat on our bodies in the long run.
Lets count. Lets say you snack between work with a nice chocolate chip cookie that is around 60 calories. You do this 5 days a week. Add that up and you get an extra 3,600 calories in a month!
Here is the good news. You can also lose weight doing just the opposite. If you were to simply cut out all the junk food out of your diet then you will be dropping pounds in no time. Cut out all the soda, cookies and chips.
Lose weight with Mindful eating
Having awareness while you eat is what mindful eating is about. Being Mindful means to be present in the moment and experience each sensation. Feel the food on your teeth, biting, chewing and swallowing.
Just like in meditation, our minds will wander during mindful eating. When this happens bring your focus back to your breath, then start to feel all the sensations of eating again.
Mindful Eating Exercises #1: Patience
- Place one item of food in your mouth.
- Close your eyes and do not chew.
- List the feelings of the food. Is it sweet? Is it cold? How is the texture?
- Chew very very slowly. Bring your jaw down slowly. How does the food taste against your teeth? Don’t worry if your thoughts take over. Just bring your awareness back to eating.
- Swallow the food item slowly. Notice how your tongue brings the piece of food to the back of the throat.
- Feel the piece of food going down the back of your throat.
- Inhale deep into your belly.
- Exhale through your mouth.
Mindful Eating Exercises #2: Observation
Perform this for 1 minute prior to eating.
- Place your food on the plate.
- Inhale deep into your belly.
- Exhale through the mouth.
- Focus your eye and mind on the food.
- Look at each ingredient and examine its content.
- Close your eyes.
- Inhale the smell and exhale.
- Lift your utensil and enjoy.
Mindful Eating Exercise #3: Restaurants
- Ask the waiter to remove any extra side dishes that they might bring. If the food is in front of you, then you will eat it. My favorite restaurant always serves garlic bread with cheese. So I nicely ask the waiter not to bring it out.
- Control the portion sizes. Restaurants now pride themselves on more food for less. Share your dish with a friend or only eat half. Take the rest home.
- Cut the dessert. If you are really craving it, then share the dessert with some one.
Mindful eating recreates the mind-body connection. This helps you become aware of what you put into your body and how well you treat it. The exercises might seem very redundant. With practice and time, the mindful eating exercises will make eating more enjoyable. Soon you will notice the weight you have lost with mindful eating exercises.
Have I missed any eating tips?
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