Life is busy. There seems to always be something we need to check off the list. When it comes time to eat, we want it to be a mindless and easy process. Many of us feel so disconnected from the food we eat. We often bypass what our bodies and spirits really need in favor of an easy take-out dinner in front of the TV. This leads to eating mindlessly and not feeling fulfilled when we finish what is on our plate. Have you ever noticed that you feel hungry soon after eating in front of the TV? That's because you didn’t truly sit to connect and enjoy the food.
This behavior not only impacts us but those around us as well. In the work that I do, when we want to correct eating issues with kids, we don't first address what they're eating, we instead focus on how they're eating: ideally in a positive setting at the dinner table with family. This can of course be applied to adults as well!
What does this look like? Here is a good framework to get you started!
Create a dinner ritual – Who is setting the table? What time are you eating? Who is responsible for cleanup? Get everyone involved!
Have a plan – What’s for dinner? Make a meal plan for the week, or even every few days, and post it for all to see so everyone can get excited for a tasty dinner! This also helps with motivation when the default might've been ordering take-out.
Make it a positive environment and experience – Dinner time is not the place to nag anyone about chores or to-dos, including yourself! Ask everyone to share the highlight of their day or what they like most about dinner. A positive eating environment is strongly correlated with a healthy relationship with food for both kids and adults.
If you live alone, these guidelines still apply! Here are a couple of other ideas you could try
incorporating as well:
Have a video dinner date with a friend or family member. Or invite them over!
Turn on music rather than the TV. Make it something that brings you joy and makes you smile!
Light candles, have flowers on the table, use a nice cloth napkin or colorful plate. Create an environment that lights you up & makes you feel grounded.
Another way to connect with your food is to eat with your five senses. I talk about this frequently and that’s because it makes a big difference. When you sit down to eat, dive deep into what you are experiencing:
Sight – How does the food look? What are the colors? See all the details of the plate.
Smell – Take a deep inhale and notice the smell. Does it smell spicy, sweet, smokey? Get your brain ready to taste something delicious!
Taste – This is the yummy part! What flavors are you experiencing? Bold? Savory? Sweet? Salty?
Sound – Notice the sounds you hear as you chew. Listen to the crunch, to the squish, or other sounds you hear.
Feel – Observe the texture of your meal. Make note if it’s creamy, crunchy, smooth etc.
The relationship you have with your food will impact many aspects of your health. It can help with weight management as connecting fully with your plate means you'll rarely eat more than your body needs. It also means less stress eating. All of this can equate to feeling more satisfied, creating a greater connection with yourself and loved ones around your new dinner ritual, and overall increasing your mood and confidence!
Don't let your health goals go by the wayside. Schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation to see how we can work together!