Mindful Eating

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful eating is the way in which we deliberately take notice of the eating process. We notice the sensations involved in eating.  We notice the taste, the smell, the texture of the food, and our response to these sensations. Usually when we are eating, our mind tends to wander. If this happens during this exercise, deliberately bring your mind back to the process of eating. The act of deliberately focusing our attention on the food that we are eating is an important part of mindfulness.

Have you ever eaten your favourite food and realised afterwards that you hardly even tasted it because you ate it so quickly? This is the opposite of Mindful eating. However we now know that when we purposefully stay with an experience, it shapes our mind in new and powerful ways. This exercise will change how you eat, forever. You will enjoy food in ways you never thought possible.

To complete this exercise you need one or two segments of an orange. This exercise will take between five and ten minutes to complete.

Please play the Mindful Eating File now. Allow about seven minutes to do this exercise.

Diary Questions:

  • Did you find this exercise easy or difficult to practice?
  • How were you feeling as you tried to eat mindfully?
  • What thoughts were trying to get your attention as you ate mindfully?

Assignment: Eat at least one meal per day in a mindful way for the rest of the week. Notice how the food tastes, how it smells, how your mouth and tongue prepare automatically for the arrival of the food. Notice how you cut the food, are you deliberate or rushed? Do you chew the food slowly or quickly? Notice the weight of the food on the fork or spoon and finally notice how your arms move when cutting the food.

Acknowledgement & Recognition

“As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.” Walter Landor

In order to fully experience whatever is going on in the present moment, you have to acknowledge that it’s there. If your mind is thinking about something else, then you aren’t really acknowledging the moment, which is why mindfulness requires focus. To be mindful, rather than running away from the upset you need to start by acknowledging what is happening. Just doing this can often reduce the intensity of your upset. In the next exercise you will learn how to do this.

Please play the Acknowledgment and Recognition File now. It takes three minutes.

Diary Questions:  Please answer these questions in the ‘Take Notes’ Section below.

  • What was it like to recall those distressing emotions?
  • Was it easy or difficult?
  • What did you notice as you acknowledged them?

Assignment: With this exercise we want you to pay more attention to distressing emotions as they happen to you this week. Do not try to distract yourself, or to run from them, just start to notice them.

Remember try not to move into the next lesson until you have practised these exercises regularly this week.

To go to the next lesson (2), click on the link below or on the top of the page.