Slowing down with food (and life!) is key to becoming a more mindful eater and participant in life. Remember that slowing down is a “practice” – it takes time and needs to be “practiced” consistently. But… there is NO right or wrong way to become a more mindful eater – we all do what we can, in the best way we can. There is no guilt, shame or judgement if we eat a really rushed meal. And there is no shame or guilt if we eat one food over another. This brings us to the topic of Week 3, which is the spirit of non-judgement.
Mindful Eating Moment #3
Non-judgement is fundamental to mindfulness, but it is probably the most difficult part of the practice.
When we “judge” something, we are observing it WITH emotion or feeling. This makes it an opinion rather than an objective observation. The attachment of emotion to this observation becomes especially problematic when we apply this judgement to ourselves – because with judgement often comes the desire to control, and the development of expectations.
This sort of judgement creeps its way into our relationship with food and our bodies all too often, leading to a string of unrealistic expectations and rules that we place on ourselves e.g. I won’t eat ANY sugar for 3 months. The problem is that these expectations (or rules) are largely outside of our control, and they don’t allow for the uncertainty and reality of life.
So when we inevitably eat the sugar, the downward spiral of judgement begins… GUILT for having eaten the sugar, and SHAME for having lost control. Guilt are shame are extremely powerful emotions, so we then seek out ways to help us cope with these feelings – and often it is through eating, food or other potentially harmful behaviours.
So, this week let’s bring the spirit of non-judgement to your mindful eating practice. When you choose a food to prepare or eat, rather than immediately judge it as “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”, just be CURIOUS. Curiosity is what mindfulness is all about – we are simply observing and noticing:
– How does the food taste?
– What is the texture?
– How does it feel to handle the food?
– What does it smell like?
– What colours can I see?
– What is happening in my body as I eat/prepare to eat? Am I salivating? Feeling queasy? Excited? Bored?
– How do I feel now that I have eaten? Full? Still hungry? Unsatisfied? Content? Sick? Energetic? Tired?
You are noticing as an observer – without any unnecessary attachments to what you are doing and eating. There is NO right or wrong – just what IS.
Give this practice a go and be kind to yourself by embracing the spirit of non-judgement!