Mindful Eating. I practice it in my personal life. I encourage my kids to practice it. I tell my friends about it. I support my clients so that they can practice it in a way that makes sense for them. In fact, I often work through mindful eating and/or focused eating exercises during client sessions. They are a great tool for exploring a person’s relationship to food in a safe environment.
My oldest son loves doing these exercises as well. He recently was asked what his mama does for work and I overheard him answer, “she teaches people how to eat yummy food.” Yup. That is right, kiddo! When I get asked to explain the practical pieces of mindful eating, I often think about how my kids eat and enjoy food.
Here is a snippet of how my son experienced chocolate mousse for the first time (it’s now one of his favourite desserts). When he was five years old, we made real deal chocolate mousse. We’re talking egg yolks, whipped cream, white sugar, good quality dark chocolate, and vanilla beans. Oh my! How decadent! And guess what?! Instead of feeling guilty about it…we enjoyed every spoonful. What is mindful eating?!
Well my then five year old son explains it best. He took his first spoonful of the mousse, looked at it closely, smelled it, asked about the texture, (heck he even poked it with his finger), took a small taste, let it roll around in his mouth, then declared that it was “so yummy!” He then put the rest of the spoonful of mousse in his mouth and just let it melt away with his eyes closed. He slowly ate a few more spoonfuls and then declared “I’m done!” and gave me the dessert cup with over half of the mousse still untouched. He was satisfied with a taste and did not feel any pressure to finish everything that was offered to him! He trusted his satiety cues! That is true mindful eating my friends!
Also…when practicing mindful eating…it helps to sit at an actual table and to put away the screens (ermmm so eating while sitting on the couch, working on your phone/laptop and watching TV is a no go). And why not really treat yourself once in awhile (even if you are the only one eating)…use the good dishes, pull out the silverware, make a drink in the fancy crystal, and above all…enjoy!
I will add that mindful eating can look different for different people. It can also look different at different times for an individual. And that is OK. Mindful eating is not meant to be used as another set of (food) rules. There needs to be some freedom as well. And in fact, mindful eating can be downright distressful for some people. If you are thinking about learning more about or embracing mindful eating I would encourage you to seek out some reputable resources and potentially work with a practitioner skilled at coaching mindful eating.
Ok, now I am off to mindfully enjoy my bedtime tea and biscuit.
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