Being Present with Food

by jon on April 14, 2012

I always hear about the importance of how we need to avoid “mindless eating.” But what does that really mean? While eating breakfast a few days ago, I think I figured out what it means to me.

Before I get to what happened during breakfast, lets talk about mindless eating. Does anyone else ever get home from work and snack like crazy? I get out the crackers and hummus, try some leftovers, etc. and then get to dinner. I am not even paying attention to what I am eating. Then if I am reading or doing something while I have dinner, I feel like dinner wasn’t enough so I might make something else. To me this is mindless eating so maybe HOW I eat is really the problem.

So, on this particular morning I sat down to a bowl of Overnight Oats. It is my favorite new breakfast from the Oh She Glows blog. Essentially you mix a few ingredients together the night before which takes less than a minute. Then your breakfast is ready right out of the fridge when you wake up. Amazing. And so tasty.

When I sat down with my bowl of oats, I decided not to read anything while I was eating. I wasn’t checking email, on the phone nor did I have the newspaper. Essentially I was present with my food. I actually enjoyed every bite and when I watched every bite, I really felt like I ate plenty of food. When I was done eating my mind and body noticed that I was full, so I didn’t run to find something else to eat. I felt a lot more satisfied than when I ate the same breakfast the day before while checking email.

So maybe this idea of actually being present with my food has some real merit. My mind needs to see and notice all the food I eat or it will tell me I need more. I just need to outsmart my mind!

This reminded me of some eating action mantras I learned from a food and nutrition expert named Dawn Jackson Blatner. She talked about an action mantra about food related to only eating meals with TABLE – PLATE – CHAIR. So no eating from the pantry or straight from the fridge. Just sit down with a plate and enjoy your food. I am adding something to that mantra and mine now reads TABLE – PLATE – CHAIR – PRESENCE. If I am present with my food during a meal and noticing each bite, I will enjoy my food more, eat less and probably save a little money. Try being more present with your food and let me what you think! Have a good one!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela April 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

What a great reminder to be present while eating. I need to work on this. Food is so much more enjoyable when you focus on all the senses while eating.
Glad to hear you like the overnight oats too. Saves lots of time in the morning!

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jon April 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Angela! Glad you enjoyed the post!

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Bobby DeMuro April 15, 2012 at 2:20 am

Is this what I’m eatin’ on Tuesday?!

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jon April 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

You got it!!!

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Carole Levy April 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Great reminder of the importance of being present (and grateful) for what we eat! I heard on NPR that there is also a movement of people who promotes chewing a lot. I personally always forgot!

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jon April 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Ah now I will think about how I am chewing too! Thanks Carole!

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