Our Mindful Eating Challenge

I’d like to thank everybody who took part in my 5 day mindful eating challenge on facebook this week. I believe it was a resounding success. I certainly got a lot out of it and it seems that everybody else did too.

The challenge consisted of taking 3 simple but powerful steps:

  1. Taking 5 long slow breaths before each meal
  2. Being present to the experience of eating; paying attention to the tastes, smells and textures of the food
  3. Taking 5 long slow breaths at the end of eating before getting up and moving on with your day.

The idea behind the breaths was to invoke the parasympathetic nervous system which sends the body’s resources towards digestion and healing. At the beginning of the meal, it gets the body ready to receive and digest the food, at the end of the meal is focuses your energy on the gut and the digestive processes.

By making sure we are present to the experience of eating we are also giving our body a message about what it needs to be focusing on. But more, we get the opportunity to really enjoy the experience: to savour the flavours and textures. I found myself really slowing my eating down and chewing my food a lot more to experience the different sensations in my mouth of the pre-chewed and chewed food.

The challenge also helped us become more aware of what we are introducing into our body and bringing into focus how we can nurture ourselves through food. At least 3 of participants found themselves varying the types of food they were eating and making more of an effort to buy and prepare more interesting food, as the result of the challenge.

Another benefit of the challenge was that by focusing mindfully at least 3 times a day, mindfulness came more easily at other times of the day too. Participants enjoyed more moments of appreciation unrelated to food!

It was really great to do it together too, knowing that others were participating and seeing each other’s comments on my facebook page really helped keep motivation high. This is something that I will definitely be repeating in a couple of months; I hope you’ll join me then too!

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