We live in a busy world where everything moves fast and we often barely have time to eat, yet food is one of our most important sources of pleasure. Unfortunately, as a result of our hectic schedules when it comes to eating food we’re often distracted by something else (cell phones, computer, kids, laundry, getting ready for bed, etc). In a rush, we often chew and swallow fast and end up eating more…and more. Voilà, mindless eating!
According to the CDC more than 34% of all us adults are obese and half as many children are as well (17%).
This is certainly not all a result of mindless eating but it is certainly a contributing factor for many people. Mindless eating is a reflection in many ways of just how disconnected we are from our food.
Perhaps a bigger problem than mindless eating itself is than in doing so we’re actually rendering ourselves less productive. I know, I know. Many of us think that by multitasking our meals we’re getting more done in our days, but recent research has really debunked the theory of multitasking being genuinely productive.
In fact, only 2% of us multitask effectively.
On the flip side, mindful eating does make you more productive. Mindful eating, like all mindfulness practices, helps increase our focus and concentration. Also, by eating until we’re satisfied rather than stuffed, we’re less likely to get the lethargy and brain fog associated with over-eating.
So what is mindful eating and how do you start to incorporate in your busy life?
Mindful eating is an application of the Buddhist philosophy of being in the moment, which is thought to be a huge part of the path to contentment and ultimately enlightenment – or as we say in the yoga world, “bliss.” Mindful eating is about making deliberate choices about the food you choose to nourish yourself and those you love with. It is also about slowing down and becoming aware of how we eat. A mindful eater focuses on all the sensory experiences around food: identifying tastes, observing colors, smelling aromas, and noticing textures.
Try this mindful eating exercise to kickstart more awareness and presence around the process of making and eating food. The more we learn to focus on the task at hand, whether than be eating our lunch or knocking out a work email, the more efficient and ultimately content we’ll all be.