This mindful eating exercise offers you fundamental mindful eating skills.
Choose a quiet, undistracted place for this exercise. Close your eyes.
Drop your awareness into your body. Feel your whole body for a few moments. What does it feel like to have a body, to be a body?
Next, zoom in to your belly and feel for sensations of hunger. Is your body hungry? If yes, then continue with this exercise. Honoring your hunger is just as important as honoring your satiety (fullness). If no, try this exercise another time. Consider this time a success because you tuned into and followed your body’s signals.
You may not be sure if your body is sending hunger signals or not. It may have been a long time since you’ve tuned into these sensations. Fortunately, the more you tune in, the more your sensitivity to these signals will grow.
Now, tune in again to discover what food your body would like to eat. Is there a certain food group that you’re hungry for? Or a certain taste? Or a specific food?
If you think you know what food to eat, open your eyes and retrieve it.
Next, you’ll use each of your senses briefly to experience this food. Take a few moments to look at it… touch it… and smell it.
Then begin to eat. Eat slowly for now (later, when you get the hang of mindful eating, you can eat at a normal pace).
Pay attention to the sensations of chewing, tasting, and swallowing, moment by moment. Each time you notice your attention has wandered to thoughts or something else (this is normal, so you don’t need to beat yourself up!), bring your attention back to the physical sensations of chewing, tasting, and swallowing.
It may be helpful to close your eyes as you eat.
After every few bites, check in with your body. Are you still hungry, or beginning to feel satiated? Follow these direct bodily signals as best you can. Let your body lead your eating, and let it tell you when to stop.
After you’re done, take a few moments to tune into your body. If the body could speak, what would it say about what you ate? About how much you ate? About how fast you ate?
Sure, mindful eating means paying attention to chewing and tasting your food. But equally important, it means tuning into the body before, during, and after eating. By tuning into the body’s signals you are letting the body lead. We usually let the mind lead our eating. But the body has a deep wisdom that starts to present itself the more that we pay attention to it. The body knows what it needs, and how much it needs.
Mindful eating is one of the most effective and easiest ways to learn to trust the body and its wisdom again, a wisdom we were in touch with when young. A wisdom that has been waiting for our return.
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