Mindful eating is a present moment exercise.
Mindful eating involves noticing our five senses:
What we touch
What we see
What we smell
What we taste
What we can hear.
When doing this exercise we start with:
Touch – notice what the object feels like (be careful trying this with something like chocolate, as it can be messy!) Notice the texture, shape, temperature, any moisture, and density.
Smell – notice the smell of the object. Is it as you expected? Does it match what you imagine it will taste like?
See – notice what you see. There may be variations in colour, in light, in shape, in shiny reflections or dull or matt surfaces.
Taste – like the notes in perfume, notice how taste changes while you hold the food or a piece of it in your mouth.
Hear – note what it sounds like when you bite into something or how it sounds grinding between your teeth.
Notice the different sensations you experience at different points. Do you feel excited about eating the food you are about to eat? Notice how you feel in various parts of your body. Is there any tension in your body before eating – perhaps in anticipation of not liking the taste or the temperature? Does it change while you are eating? How do you feel afterwards?
We can use mindful eating when working with clients who have a difficult relationship with eating – either avoiding or over-eating.
Mindful eating without sound:
Have your client try and eat without making noise with the utensils or plates. The process requires concentration on each item and to be in the here and now.
At the same time, notice the smells, sounds, textures, and flavours of the food and in the surrounding area. Too often we just rush through our meals without being aware of or appreciating the first bite. We don’t notice many sensations. Mindful eating encourages being mindful before, during and after eating. This can also be applied in mindfulness of studying, walking, playing a musical instrument even mindfulness of loving.
Extend this exercise to other areas of living.
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