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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my dear friend Kelly Matsudaira. Kelly is passionate about personal development and reflection on life and often pops in to share words of wisdom! I hope you enjoy today’s article!}


by Kelly Matsudaira

Each November we express our gratitude for the people and things in our lives, gorge on yummy holiday foods and treats, and enjoy our loved ones on Thanksgiving. But how many of us really pay attention to the food we are eating?

What is Mindful Eating?

Can you relate to this scenario? Picture this: It’s Saturday night and you’ve decided to have a movie night at home with your family. You pick out a newly released movie and your favorite snacks – popcorn, chips, cookies, chocolate, and soda. You put a bowl or plate together of your snacks and start the movie.

Even before the movie starts and you’re watching trailers of upcoming movies, you begin to eat. You’re mindlessly inhaling your snacks before you realize that your bowl is empty and the movie just started! But you still feel hungry, so you throw together another bowl of snacks and continue to eat.

As you connect deeper with the movie and get really sucked into the story, you down a couple more bowls, and before you know it, you’ve eaten the equivalent of a whole bag of chips or popcorn by yourself! Then once your brain catches up to your stomach, you start to feel queasy and sick. You ate too much!

This is a good example of NOT eating mindfully and what you shouldn’t do when you sit down with food.

Mindful eating is giving yourself the permission to enjoy your food fully – noticing the presentation, taste, texture, smell and feeling it gives you. You are acknowledging what you are putting into your mouth and savoring every bite. You aren’t distracted by TV, cell phones or other devices. You’re intentionally eating for your body and caring for yourself.

Mindful eating is all about the experience with food without criticism or judgement. That can be hard for people, especially if they splurge on junk food when they know they shouldn’t be. But be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to have a “free day” where you can enjoy that ice cream sundae or piece of cake every so often. And when you’re eating it, notice your emotions and sensations.

How to Practice Mindful Eating (And Really Enjoy Your Food) // deliciousobsessions.com

5 Helpful Tips to Practice Mindful Eating

You may be taking a moment now to think about how you eat. Do you devour your food without really tasting it? Do you always have to be doing something while you eat – checking your phone, reading a book, watching TV?

If you’re starting to notice a trend, you can turn your eating habits around and start practicing mindful eating with these five tips:

1. Eat slower. Most people just shovel in their food and don’t take the time to actually chew slowly and “savor the flavor.” Remember, eating is not a race. Slow things down a bit and actually taste what you are eating. Listen to your body when it feels full and stop.

2. Shut off the distractions. Turn off the TV, cell phones and any other devices. Put away books, magazines or newspapers. Sit down at the kitchen table and enjoy a nice meal with your family. Take time to learn about the people you love and get involved in their lives. Ask them how their day was and what exciting things happened that day. Be together in the present moment while you enjoy a delicious meal. If you can’t do this every night, pick a couple nights a week to start.

3. Think about your food. Try to get to know your food and the sources it comes from. Where did it grow? Who baked it? Where did it come from and how did it get here? You want to learn about the story behind your food. Once you start to rekindle your relationship with food, then you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for your food. You may want to start shopping at other stores or farmers’ markets.

4. Evaluate your emotions. Before you open the fridge for a late night snack, examine how you’re feeling. Are you really hungry? Ask yourself if you would eat broccoli right now. If you answer yes, then you’re truly hunger. But if you answer no or hesitate, then chances are you’re feeling something else. Are you nervous? Bored? Angry? Stressed? If so, maybe food isn’t the answer. Maybe you need to do something else like take a bath, write in your journal, watch a funny movie, or meditate.

5. Show gratitude. No matter what’s going on in your head or life, be grateful for what you have because it could always be worse. Say a silent ‘thank you’ before you dive into your meal. Be grateful for the food before you and that you are able to eat when so many are starving around the world. When you express gratitude, you’re grounding yourself in the present moment, letting all the negative emotions dissolve and not taking anything for granted at this time.

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