Here is a simple exercise to do when you have a moment. It is a mindful eating exercise. Every day most of us eat three meals per day. The sad thing is that the majority of human beings eat without appreciation for the food they have been given. It is taken for granted that food will always be available for us to consume. There is a lack of realization that there are too many individuals starving in this world. Furthermore, when eating we are often distracted by the television, answering emails, playing on our cell phones, or reading the paper. There is no focus on what we are eating. The smell of the food, the texture of the food, and the taste of the food goes unnoticed as it is shoveled into our mouths. An entire meal is consumed within minutes. More food than is needed to sustain us with energy is consumed. Food that is filled with starches and white sugar is the “norm”. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish are lacking in our dietary intake. A poor dietary intake, day after day, leads to obesity. But there is another way. That way is mindful eating. Please enjoy the following video as an introduction to mindful eating.
Now that you have watched the video, please incorporate the following mindful eating exercise into one of your meals today.
Exercise: Eating Mindfully
- Pick a piece of fruit to eat.
- Pretend that you are eating it for the very first time.
- Explore it with you eyes? What color is it? What shape is it? Are there any defects in it? Is it big or small? What is its texture? Are there any patterns on it.
- Now touch it. Is it wet or dry? Is it rough or soft? Does it feel pleasant or does it make you want to put it down? Is it cold or warm? Can you feel the texture and if so what does it feel like?
- Now smell it. Does it have an odor? If it has an odor, is it pleasant or unpleasant? Does the smell cause any internal sensation(s)?
- Now take a bite of the fruit. Is it sweet or sour? Is is wet or dry? Hold it on your tongue for a few moments. Explore it with your tongue. What is its texture? What is its shape? How does the shape change if you move the piece around in your mouth? What internal sensations are you experiencing? What is its weight?
- Chew the piece in your mouth very slowly. How does the shape and texture change? How does the taste change? Do you derive more pleasure from chewing it? Have any pieces gotten stuck in your teeth?
- Finally, swallow the piece. What sensations do you feel as you swallow it?
- Repeat these steps until you finish eating the piece of fruit. See how the piece of fruit changes in regards to look, smell, touch, and taste.
- After eating the entire piece of fruit, explore the following. Was there anything you noticed about eating the piece of fruit that you never noticed before? Was one of your senses (sight, taste, smell, touch) more vivid than the others? How easy was it for you to remain focused on the exercise? Did you find that your mind was wondering? How easy was it to become focused again after your mind wandered? Did you enjoy the exercise? What was your overall experience about mindful eating?