Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mindful Eating ~ Not Quite There Yet...

Five days ago, I made a commitment (here) to eat my lunch mindfully every day this week.

Honestly? It's been a struggle so far.

Tuesday, I was at a restaurant celebrating a friend's birthday. Yak, yak, yak... eat, eat, eat... mindless eating right from the get go.

Yesterday, I found myself a little pushed for time and resentful that I couldn't eat and check email/blogs at the same time. I forced myself to sit and eat semi-mindfully. But my mind kept slipping away from my food and onto the list of stuff I had to do. Plus, I rushed the eating.

Today, I started out OK with a nice prayer of gratitude and slow, mindful eating, but then noticed a book my husband's reading on the table nearby. Without thought, that book was in my hand and I was reading about Elephants in the Room. (Can't wait for him to finish as it appears to be well written and a fascinating topic.) I read through half my lunch, eating mindlessly, of course, before I realized what I was doing and put the book down.

Monday was the only day when I ate mindfully for the whole meal! That day (as I frequently do for lunch) I ate a scoop of cottage cheese (with some dried cranberries and toasted, slivered almonds mixed in it) and a sliced, Braeburn apple.

Being warm, but with a wee breeze, I sat out on the deck. First I soaked up some rays while saying a silent prayer of gratitude to every provider of my food, including the sun, rain, earth, cows, cranberry bogs, almond trees, apple trees, and all the people who grow and process the food. Nice. Felt good. Took some deep breaths.

Then I ate the cottage cheese.. mindfully noticing the creamy consistency and slightly salty flavor of it, the crunch and nutty flavor of the almonds and the occasional sweet-tart of a cranberry. After each bite, I put my spoon down and didn't lift it again until I had swallowed the previous bite, cleared my mouth and paused a bit. Amazing!

Desert was my Braeburn. An apple never tasted so delicious! With each bite, I noticed the crunch sound, the flow of juice, the sweet initial taste followed by tangy aftertaste, the way it took more pressure to chew the skin.

Normally I could (and would) consume a meal like that in 5 minutes. Eating it mindfully took 25 minutes.

Yes, part of me resists taking a whole 25 minutes to eat, when I could multi-task AND finish it off in 5 minutes. Yet, on the other hand, the rest of that day went really well. I accomplished a lot and stayed focused. Maybe taking a significant chunk time to eat is a good thing.

Building new habits isn't easy. I'm well-intended. But so far, I have to admit that I'm not quite there yet when it comes to mindful eating.


  1. You made mindful eating sound so wonderful! It's hard because we are so pushed to multi-task and view eating as just another job to be done. Then, for me anyway, I find I've eaten too much and didn't even enjoy it! Congratulations on day 33!

  2. I love this idea - that you are making into a reality!
    I want to eat like that.
    If we all took time for contemplation, we probably wouldn't touch half the junk we eat now.

  3. I am just imagining the beautiful words you can use to describe all you mindfully eaten meals:) I am such an action-oriented person that I would very much struggle with this.

  4. You're aware, and you're making progress. That's something right there.
    For meals with friends or family, I've learned to savor both the food AND the fellowship. To me, it doesn't work to NOT consider and appreciate both. As for multi-tasking when eating alone, I'll probably always do that, too, but I do take a moment or five of gratitude and savoring before I pick up my book or dissolve into people-watching. Ususally. :)

  5. I'm pretty sure I couldn't be consistent with mindful eating as you describe it, not with every meal. But if I could do this even once a day, I believe it would make an interesting difference. I share meals with my husband, and we like to talk, and sometimes my only reading time is when I eat, but I've been paying more attention to what I'm eating and how I'm eating it because you have got me thinking about mindful eating. I used to do something like that in the past, paying attention to my foods, carefully tasting and slowly and carefully chewing each bite, but I didn't keep going with it -- I just got distracted and forgot. So, lunchtime tomorrow I have an appointment with myself to eat a slow, quiet, mindful meal, and see what happens.

  6. This is one of my challenges, too. I made it one of my goals in the Freedom Challenge and I did it for a while....

    I would say definitely one of the reasons I'm always "hungry". I barely remember eating a meal because I'm not focusing on it. How weird is that?

    Thanks for the reminder, PB. This is something we can do better at. Let's go!

  7. I do agree that taking the time to really notice the food in addition to the surroundings and people make the whole meal an event instead of a blur.


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