Mindful eating is a natural and profound place to practice awareness. To answer the question I hear often “how do I know if I’m eating mindfully” I offer 5 tips (questions actually), some easy reminders, to pull up in those moments of stress and confusion and regain the moment in awareness.
- Who is eating? You say well me of course! If we take a closer look there may be a number of different “parts” of you who may actually be sitting down to the meal. Noticing what part of you is eating is an easy in to awareness. Noting if it is your “adult” part eating the functional lunch in order to get back to work quickly or your “parent” part noticing this is a well rounded meal that is keeping you fit and strong. Perhaps it is your “child” part who is delighting in the ice-cream cone on a hot summer day. Simply asking and noticing -who- can bring you into the moment with increased awareness.
- What am I eating? Being curious about the food on the plate, without judgment. Asking “what is this I am putting into my body?” Noticing what comes up for you emotionally when you ask this question has brings you to an awareness of your eating rather than going about in a rote manner. You may even discover -to your surprise-you don’t even want what you are eating. This is awareness.
- Where am I eating? The dreaded “where am I?” when eating. If you find your self in a car or standing at the counter or other situations that may not be truly caring for yourself this question will bring it to light (awareness) and give you a chance to make note of it, again without judgment. Each time you ask you will have an opportunity to make a change or note you want to make a change in the future if your environment was not conducive to eating well.
- When am I eating? Easy enough to do, ask “am I hungry?” There’s a multitude of other reasons to eat and most are not in our best interest. If you are eating when you are not hungry the awareness brought on by the question has you now able ask …
- Why am I eating? Mindfully checking in as to why your are eating can take you to an emotional place. The practice is to simply ask and not judge what comes up. The beauty is in that you took the space, the time, the awareness to be with what is happening in the moment. Note the answer and let it be. You will be surprised by how powerful simply asking and being aware really can be.
The 5 Ws can serve you well with your mindful eating. Asking one, two or all of the questions will shift the wandering mind into the present body and onto what is actually happening rather than meandering into the past and future problems and events. As always how we eat is a reflection of how we live so use the meal, snack or ice-cream cone treat as place to become mindful of your life.
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