Here’s the third and final (for now) article of my series on mindful eating. Today you’ll learn my 5 steps to creating a meal experience that will leave you feeling completely satisfied.
Last Friday, I spoke about falling in love with your body through mindful eating at an incredible event called Sensory SummerEXPLOSION (SSE), the brainchild of my expressive, loving friend Jess Tomlinson. In her words, it’s a “legit party for your mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and skin,” geared towards indulging all the senses.
It truly was an experience of the senses – together we ate a delicious organic vegan meal (brown rice paella with abundant farmers market veggies prepared by Garden Grill LV!), painted on a giant canvas, engaged in expressive dancing, meditated, and more. Fun, right?
This is important to you because eating can be a mini Sensory EXPLOSION that you do EVERY DAY.
We have the opportunity to create these experiences three times (or more) a day. Kinda like our own built-in mindfulness practice. If you’re too busy to create or attend a full event like SSE, well, everyone’s gotta eat.
How to turn your meals into experiences
This will help you be satisfied, feeling like you ate a full meal.
Whereas if you eat in front of the TV or other distractions, it’s easy to eat your entire meal without really noticing it and feel unsatisfied when it’s gone, resulting in you reaching for seconds.
Here are the 5 steps to follow to create a beautiful meal experience:
Remove all distractions
Turn off the TV, put your phone away, clear the table. You can’t practice mindful eating with distractions.
Prepare the stage
Set the table with your favorite place mats. Light candles. Put out flowers. Scent the air with moody aromatherapy. Anything that makes it feel like a special occasion.
Serve your food…
in beautiful plates and bowls. Add some garnishes like chopped chives or a few loose berries to the top of your dish. Use chopsticks to slow yourself down.
Indulge in the experience
Take a bite and close your eyes. Chew a few times and concentrate on the taste and texture, the sensation. Savor all the flavors and revel in the sensuality of your food. When you swallow, feel how it sits in your stomach. As you eat, feel the sensation of fullness and satiation approach.
Check in with your body
Afterwards, how do you feel? Heavy and drowsy or light and energetic? Cataloging this feeling will also help you make better food choices in the future, ones connected to how they make you feel rather than a whim.
You don’t have to do this for all meals – I know your breakfasts are probably eaten on the run, and you can hardly light candles during lunch at work.
But keep the concept in mind and see how you can apply it in your everyday life to each and every meal.
Incorporating mindful eating into a busy life
If you’re driving and have some room, bring bowls and utensils so you can make some of your own meals. Also bring some special touches: cloth napkins, candles, maybe even a portable table cloth. Find an amazing spot and create a simple picnic or jazz up your hotel room.
Here’s an example of how I balanced indulgence with staying healthy on a recent vacation.
On the run
If you are super-busy and feel like you can’t take the time to stop and eat, ask yourself if everything on your list is absolutely necessary to do right now.
Can you perhaps carve out a mere half hour to mindfully eat a meal – not while driving or working? You don’t need all the extras to create an experience – just simply being mindful of the flavors, scents, textures, and visual stimulation of your food is enough.
On your lunch break, get away from your desk. Find a nearby park, a quiet corner of your work building, or even the office break room if time is limited. The goal is to go somewhere different and let yourself feel like it’s an occasion. I promise your work will be there when you return. 🙂
Now your turn.
What are your best tips for creating a meal-time experience? How about on the run? Share with me in the comments! I LOVE hearing from you.
P.S. If you couldn’t make it to Sensory Summer EXPLOSION, I’ll be sharing my talk video in a future post. And look out for another post guiding you through mindful eating.
P.P.S. There’s a free online event that is going on right now that I think you’ll like: “Have a Summertime Love Affair: Fall in Love with You.” Since my passion is helping you fall in love with your body, imagine my excitement when I came upon this. Great speakers, including my friend Vanessa Chamberlain. I’m going to try to catch some of the talks, too. 🙂