How to Be Mindful When Eating Alone

How to Be Mindful When Eating Alone

A reader asked me how and what to do when eating alone in regards to intuitive eating. It is so easy to just zone out while eating by watching tv, scrolling through social media, or running around doing work if you are alone. However, this doesn’t allow us to fully enjoy our meals, and could lead to overeating, not listening to our body’s cravings, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction.

First of all, eating alone with no distractions is a lot like meditation. It does take some time to be able to fully appreciate doing this, because we are probably all so used to doing other things while eating. So, like meditation, just start with noticing what your mind does when you’re eating alone. Then, as you notice your tendencies, and how your mind wanders (it’s okay, no judgement), begin to practice focusing a little more each time with no distractions. You’ll want to practice how to focus on the flavors of the meal and the environment around you. Before you eat, take a moment to notice where you are, feel your feet on the floor, your back against the chair, and see the food that’s in front of you. What is it? What does it look like? What are the colors? Smell? This will help you to be in the present moment. Try to bring your mind back to focus each time you feel the urge to distract yourself with the TV, computer, or checking your emails. As you begin to feel comfortable with this time, you can try doing this for longer, until you can eat your entire meal without distractions or feeling the need to be doing other things.

So what do I do to make eating alone enjoyable?

First of all, I listen to my body to see what sounds good. I decide what sounds satisfying/delicious/right in that moment, and then prepare that meal. At home I choose from my meal ideas list for that week. If I want to eat out, I’ll walk downtown to pick something up. For the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on eating at home. While cooking, I play music, light a candle, possibly try a new simple recipe, and take the time to prepare each ingredient (you guys know, my meals are pretty simple!). Then, I get out pretty dishes (I love white, and sometimes love fun colors too), assemble my food onto my plate, set the table, and sit down with nothing but my food and myself. I enjoy each bite, savoring the flavors and appreciating the fact that I prepared the meal (or knowing someone else took the time to prepare if it is leftovers or restaurant food). While I eat, my music is softly playing in the background, my candle is flickering on the table, and I am taking in the amazing aroma the food is giving off.

Do you see how calming and meditative (focused on just eating) this is? It’s great for food to be consumed in a calming environment. Our bodies are able to better digest the food, we can appreciate the meal, and we are able to listen to our bodies to know when we have eaten enough.

If you are eating alone and having trouble resisting the urge to do something during your meal, I have found that it’s better to stop eating, stand up, and do whatever you need to do (i.e. check your phone, respond to an email, etc.) and then return to eating. This prevents you from rushing through your meal and not enjoying it, simply so you can do whatever it is you are thinking about.

I’m getting really specific in this post for YOU, because if you’re reading this it’s safe to assume that eating alone and being mindful is a challenge for you. However, it’s important to point out also that once you feel comfortable with JUST EATING (doing one thing at a time), eventually, eating will simply become normal eating. It’ll feel mindful purely because you’re able to have a meal and enjoy it without needing a distraction when you’re alone.

So these are my tips for eating alone! It does take some time to become comfortable eating without your phone or the TV, but will allow you to be in tune to your body, listen to her, and thoroughly enjoy enjoy your food (especially foods that you’ve spent time cooking).

What are your tips for eating alone? What stuck out to you most here?

Love,

PaigeSignature

Love, Paige
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