“What did you have for dinner yesterday?”
It’s a simple question we often can’t answer. We like food. We need food. So how do we have so little memory of it, sometimes even seconds after we eat it?
Constant accessibility and distraction is a reality of modern life. We are no longer enjoying meals in a relaxed, attentive state. We eat as we scroll our cells aimlessly or chow down mouthfuls in a rush, then look down at an empty bowl or bag barely remembering even one bite.
Eating mindfully has many powerful health benefits. People who meditate eat healthier food and eat less than those who don’t. They sense flavors with greater intensity and even notice satiation sooner.
Beyond emotions, eating mindfully promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Healthier food choices can improve many disease processes, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Also, meditation is the single most effective way to build willpower, making it easier to break bad habits and resist temptation.
Eating mindfully is simple, but easy to forget. Begin by leaving all electronics “including TV” out of the meal equation, and ask the same of your dining companions, “We’re here to enjoy each other and this delicious food, not look at our cell phones. So let’s all put them away.”
Take a mindful breath and a sip of water between bites. This gives you time to chew, taste, and even talk and listen to others. It also allows your brain to better interpret the body’s signals. You may think, “These Hop Cat Crack Fries are amazing. But one handful was enough.”
This isn’t about dieting. It’s about enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures with a little more presence. Robin, who has been meditating with MeditationWorks for 11 weeks now, has lost 9 pounds. “I wasn’t really focusing on losing weight,” she said. “I’m more aware of why I’m eating-more out of stress and habit instead of hunger-and realize I don’t need food each time I have those feelings. I also slowed down enough to split my work lunch into two smaller meals, which makes it last longer. I’m not starving anymore when I get home.”
Her co-worker Jim is also implementing what he’s learned in our mobile unit. “Got a week’s worth of mindful meals in,” he exclaimed! “At the wedding I was at, I tasted every bite of steak I ate, which was delicious! And when the kids showed up to dinner with the iPads, I said ‘Nope’ and they put them away.”
The brief, consistent, and simple practice of meditation leads to small changes in behavior that can have huge impact on how much we enjoy our lives. We hear accounts of our participant’s mindful victories every day so we know that MeditationWorks really works!! Keep them coming!
Until we meet again…