The title of this post may not make much sense to you now, but just give me a moment. Think first about what hinders you from eating mindfully. Is it lack of time? Too much stress? A feeling that you always need to be multitasking?
What will it take to get you to sit down at a nicely set table with a healthy meal and eat it slowly and mindfully? For me, it took the extraction of my wisdom teeth. I could show you pictures of my attempts to store nuts for the winter, but I’ll just have you trust me on this one! My likeness to a chipmunk was uncanny! (Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a tad)
Looking like a chipmunk was just a small side effect compared to how it changed my eating. At first, I was only able to take in small amounts of liquid or “liquified” foods ever so slowly as to not cause more pain in my mouth. I slowly progressed to a combo of liquid and soft foods, but I had to chew the soft food with my front teeth to keep it out of the healing pockets in the back, which meant I had to chew each bite some crazy number of times before being able to swallow. Each meal took me a long time to eat. Or did it?
Sure, it felt like a time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating, task to get the food to break down using my incisors instead of my molars, but was it really that long? Or have I been used to scarfing down my food without pausing to see if I’m full or if I really want another bite or serving? It’s funny the things I noticed as I sat chewing and chewing. I realized how much I longed for texture after three liquid meals. I noticed how thick and fibrous the skin of a bean is. I found myself missing fresh, crunchy vegetables and craving things like carrot sticks and salads (really)! I came to see how important food and eating are, and how a disruption to one’s habits can be upsetting…and helpful.
I am almost able to eat a “regular” diet now, but I want to take with me the things I’ve learned from this experience. I want to eat more slowly and mindfully. I want to tap into my cravings and feelings about food. I want to nourish my body with the food it wants.
So I ask again: What will it take for you to eat mindfully?
I hope it doesn’t require us all to become chipmunks! (They are cute though!)