6 Steps to Becoming a More Mindful Eater

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If you find yourself thoughtlessly eating countless chips while watching Mr. Robot and feeling sad—and a little ashamed—when they’re gone, Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace on Eating might just be for you.

Puddicombe has traveled the world in search of how to live more mindfully. He studied meditation in the Himalayas and even got ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in India. His website and app Headspace teaches us crazy, multi-tasking people how to slow down, take stock of the good things, be present and just enjoy life a little more—and this includes being more mindful about how we eat.

By eating mindfully, Puddicombe says in an alluring British accent, we can have a better relationship with food and appreciate every bite. Let’s say it took you half an hour to make dinner. Wolfing it down in ten minutes can feel not only anti-climactic, but also unsatisfying on both physical and emotional levels.

This exercise is meant to be done in a 10-minute time span. If you have the Headspace app, you can follow along with Puddicombe as he explains what to do. As a note, this will absolutely feel a little awkward; you’ll feel yourself wanting to eat faster and get it over with—but that’s why the exercise exists. Below are the six steps to follow:

  • Sit down at a table without any noises to distract you.
  • Look at the food in front of you. (Choose something bright and flavorful; something with a strong aroma like an orange or a piece of chocolate.) I like to go with chocolate.
  • Take some deep breaths. If you find yourself beginning to think about other things, just bring yourself back to the food in front of you.
  • Think about where the food came from. Acknowledge its journey. Is it processed? Is it natural? Who was involved in bringing it from wherever it came from to your table?
  • Pick up the food and put it on your tongue. You might be tempted to rush this process, but think about how it smells, its flavor, its temperature and its texture. Chew and swallow.
  • Pick up another piece and continue the exercise, slowly, until the item is gone.

  • This exercise is designed to make you savor your food and be present with the experience of eating. While you can’t always achieve this Zen-state when you’re chowing down with friends or drunk-eating a pizza at 4 a.m., the thoughtfulness when practiced often enough will begin to manifest itself into your daily life, helping you slow down and enjoy, whether you’re eating a bag of Doritos or a homemade pie.

    Photo by Kristina Servant CC BY