Kathryn Smith, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants
Easter is a wonderful time of year, religious or not, it’s an opportunity to stop and enjoy some time with friends and family while the weather is still warm.
Like all festive occasions, Easter is a very food oriented celebration and as we count down the days until the Easter Bunny arrives, there is an abundance of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and various sugar-filled treats, in arms reach. In fact, these tempting sugary delights start filling the supermarket shelves a mere month post-Christmas, but that’s another story.
Without sounding like a complete kill-joy, Easter doesn’t have to be a time to have a complete blow out. Instead, it can be a time to enjoy your food, company and rest time without being fearful of what the scales might show when it’s time to go back to work. But mindful eating needn’t be confined to the festive seasons, when practiced as part of your daily routine it can bring a myriad of health benefits.
So, what does mindful eating actually mean, I hear you say? If you have visions of yoga music and meditation at the dinner table, think again.
Clinical Psychologist, Kathryn Smith says, “Mindful eating, is a very positive notion that encourages being present and enjoying the complete experience of eating, savouring the taste, the smell and being grateful for the nourishment food provides our bodies”.
Here are three simple steps to start putting mindful eating into daily practice.
- Respond to your bodily cues, that is eat when you are hungry not when you are tired, emotional or have a case of ‘3:30itis’.
- Sit down to eat. It sounds ridiculous but so many of us rush around shovelling food into our face without even drawing breath, let alone setting the table. Sitting down to eat will encourage you to notice the food you are consuming and register that you have eaten. Eating on the run can cause us to forget we have eaten and therefore snack unnecessarily.
- Turn off your phone to eat. Eating distraction free, without checking your emails or latest Facebook feed will allow you to relax, savour the tastes and the surrounding environment.
Think of the down time over Easter break as the perfect opportunity to practice mindful eating, not only will it encourage you to acknowledge and appreciate the culinary delights on the table, it may prevent you from the aftermaths of a chocolate splurge. For more information on mindful eating, visit www.psychologyconsultants.com.au/mindfuleating