Everyone has had a period in their lives when their daily diet might have been a bit questionable. You know the sort of thing: busy at work or school and only stopping to eat some starch or drink multiple cups of sugar-laden coffee and then there’s the whole routine of missed meals and catch-ups with high-octane vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sprinkles.
Fortunately, there is so much information available today about a healthy diet that most people end up reforming their previous bad habits. Health inspired food choices can lead to an experience of being nourished and feeling like you’re savouring the food – and enjoying the whole eating experience.
What kind of relationship do you have with food? Do you reach for the fruit and vegetables or is your first impulse to buy a packet of potato chips? How would you describe your relationship with food? Is it companionable, warm and intimate or is it tense, hostile and challenging?
Learn to develop a friendship with your food
Being on good terms with your diet – the food you consume every day – is a good first step to mastering the art of eating.
Here are some tips to help you appreciate the art of eating:
Be mindful about your cravings
We all get cravings for some foods sometimes, but that craving signal is for a particular category of food, not the actual food itself. For instance, you might have a craving for a hamburger which just means that your body is telling you that you need protein. Substitute that burger for something healthier, for example, a piece of lean chicken or fish. Your lust for sweets might indicate a blood-sugar imbalance, but having a few sultanas or dried apricots is healthier than eating a chocolate bar. Retrain yourself through your mindfulness to understand that you can lessen your desire for that unhealthy snack by understanding what your body is signalling – and go for the healthier alternative.
Developing the art of eating
Food is there to be enjoyed and the art of eating healthily and well can be developed through your mindful attention to the balance between what you need and what is the best source of that food for you. Don’t succumb to eating mindlessly because you ‘don’t have the time’ to eat properly. Eliminate that excuse from your life! Always make time to eat properly and create an enjoyable environment for your eating experience.
Eating can be a solitary experience, but often it’s a social one. So keep good company because you’re just as nourished by the people you spend time with as by the food you eat.
To read more about the art of eating see Think Yourself Thin: The Psychology of Losing Weight