Folks tell me that eating mindfully is easier when they are at home, alone, and have time. That might be true. But since most of us eat in the company of others, or in the middle of a hectic workday or at our-in-laws, eating mindfully could present a bit more of a challenge. Here are some approaches you can try to eat mindfully in the real world:
- Check in with yourself and ask, “Am I really hungry, or do I just want to eat?” If you are hungry, plan to eat. If you are not, then wait until you are.
- When you eat, try to sit down instead of stand. If you are at a cocktail party and sitting is not an option, choose one hors d’oeuvre at a time, and eat in several small bites.
- If you are at work, try not to eat at your desk; find somewhere else to sit and eat. If you have to eat at your desk, move your work to the side. Spread out a napkin as a placemat and focus just on your meal.
- Pay attention to your hunger and fullness, and pace yourself. Often we are served portions that are larger than our body needs. If that happens, plan to take your leftovers home, and be sure to compliment the chef.
- When you are with others, shift your attention from your food to your company. Pay attention to what they are saying. Enjoy the conversation, the music and whatever else is going on around you. Being mindful means being aware, so take in all your surroundings including the food.