This is a concept that most people do not think about. But how important it really is and the benefits that is has are overshadowed by our fast moving society. When we are hungry, we eat. And sometimes when we are REALLY hungry we eat too fast. When we do this we miss out on the enjoyment that food can really bring. The taste, the smells, and the textures of all the different foods we eat are bypassed by not taking the time to enjoy them. Also, eating too fast can cause us to overeat, so there there is a health benefit from learning to eat mindfully.

So what do we do to eat mindfully? It is quite simple really. Start by looking at your food and smelling it. Notice everything about it, how it feels, how it smells. Ever just eaten an orange and not really thought about it? Next time do this: take a fresh orange and close your eyes and smell it. Feel how it feels in your hand. Smell the orange and really just let the pleasure of this fresh fruit take hold of your imagination. Now peel the orange and do the same thing while capturing all the smells and the feel of the fruit and then slowly taste each small piece. I am willing to bet that you will never eat a better orange. I have taught eating mindfully to my clients in this manner and I have been told, “This is the best orange I have ever eaten!” even though there is really nothing special about it. We seem to lose our senses when it comes to eating and enjoying our food. When we learn to experience our food in a different manner such as this, several things happens. We gain a better appreciation for each of our favorite foods that we didn’t have before. We therefore start to really enjoy foods even more and even start to experience things we never noticed from our food. Try an apple using this same technique and ask yourself if you remember it looking and feeling, and even tasting so good before.

As I previously mentioned, eating too fast comes with problems all on its own without losing the experience you should be getting when you are eating your food. Eating too fast or eating when you are in a rush takes most of the enjoyment out of eating food at all. We not only eat to survive, but we should eat to live as well. Eating should be something that you enjoy and take pleasure in. Eating slower can help you actually feel full before you’ve eaten all your portions. Our brains are actually programmed by how long we eat our meals. Try to sit down at your next meal and really take your time. Chew every morsel of food with pleasure and try to taste everything. Think about what you are eating. Think about how it tastes and really take your time. A lot of us are always in a rush, so if you have to, take some extra time for yourself and your mealtimes.