The Mindful Eating Exercise
The purpose of this exercise is to learn to be mindful while eating. It is a method to enable us to get back in touch with our bodies in a way that all of us were in touch with them when we were very young. I tell people that if they do this exercise 5 times (in a period of a few weeks) in a mindful way, it will begin to change their relationship to food. It will get harder and harder to overeat and/or not listen to the body while eating.
This is an exercise that I was taught in 1983 from Stephen Levine at a weekend Death and Dying Workshop and it made a huge impact both on my relationship with food and later on my teaching. I have used it especially while working with groups of “compulsive overeaters”, but it useful for everyone.
Are you hungry?
No, maybe a little, but it’s 10 am and my coffee is almost gone.
How do you know?
I only have a little of that uneasy feeling I associate with hunger.
How does your body tell you if it is hungry?
Growling tummy? Tired? Headache!
Are you thirsty rather than hungry?
Are you physically tired and so a nap would be more appropriate than eating?
If I could get away with napping at work it’d be awesome. But no, not tired. granted now I am yawning.
* Pick up the food you have chosen – look at it as if you’d never seen it before. You might ask where this grew on the planet. Stay present in the moment.
Starbucks Oatmeal. The lids warped, it’s a good sign they may have added enough water. They did. I have brown sugar, nuts, and berries to add.
Dot…mind wandered to thinking about a co-worker
* Now smell it. Close your eyes and smell it.
Sweet, warm, Now I am salivating.
* Now as you bring the food to your mouth, inhibit your habitual response to bite, chew and swallow. As you begin to chew, move it around in your mouth. See if you can notice different flavours when it’s in different parts of your mouth. Close your eyes to cut down on other stimuli in the room.
Taste receptors on my front left & back right tongue notice the most flavor.
* As you bite down notice any sound it makes. Chew it very slowly.
* Swallow and notice if you can feel your stomach receiving the food? Notice if you want to rush and eat the next bite before you have even finished with this one. Inhibit this habitual response.
Bits have gotten stuck around my mouth, in my throat, coughing.
* Is there an aftertaste in your mouth. Do you like it? Do you dislike it?
Not too surprising: oaty, it’s fine.
* How would you rate the food on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being your most favourite).
Now for the next 5 minutes or so, mouthful by mouthful, smelling each bite before putting it into your mouth continue to eat the food. In silence. Keep checking your level of hunger and keep in touch with what your mouth has to say about the food.
This is borrowed from here
the cup is plain
striking berry flavor
dot I want to play face book
more berry or fruit flavor
oats clinging to teeth
realized I forgot to smell
sweet/plain more that oats, less that brown sugar
dot thought about the blogess
dot Peri talking in the back ground
last few bites done without writing about them. Took 8 mins to eat.
probably the longest it’s taken in a while.