Mindful eating exercise

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on March 10th, 2011
Filed under intuitive eating | 2 Comments »



When I began to learn more in depth about Intuitive Eating and the philosophy behind it, I was introduced to the idea of mindful eating. Similar to IE, mindful eating involves a present, deliberately aware eating experience. Mindfulness in general, is the idea of becoming in tuned both internally and externally to your world/environment and the immediate moment. Consider it being FULLY in the moment of NOW. I use this idea everyday now- with coaching clients, with conversations with friends and family, and now with eating.

According to the Center for Mindful Eating, their defined principles encourage deliberate attention, without judgement to food; promoting balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of the here and now. Mindful eating encourages you to become aware of how food affects you in the greatest light as you sit down, as you eat, and as you experience the entire meal.

You see, being mindful allows you to become more accepting of the here and now, experiencing every positive benefit from the food you are eating. Without judgement, without demands, without anything but awareness.

So what might this look like during your next meal and how you can start playing with this idea?

I have a simple and most brilliant exercise for you!

And it starts with one idea: to chew.

Let me explain more.

Mindful Eating Exercise


I've recently started to learn quite a bit about the Macrobiotic Diet and Lifestyle. You will find guidelines not only on how to eat and what to eat, but also on a way of living your life, presently and with gratitude.

One of the recommendations is to chew your food.

I know, we all do that every time that we eat but let's think about this…how much do you really chew your food? The typical American meal is quick, often standing, sitting at the computer, or driving in the car on the way to the next activity. It's fast. It's unfocused and it's full of distractions.

So, think about the question again: how much do you actually chew your food? The answer is likely not much at all. I found out that I could barely get 4 chews in before the food is gone and on it's way down my esophagus!

According to the Macrobiotic lifestyle, you are to chew each bite of food 50 times.

Yikes that is A LOT my friends! I'm not going to ask you to do that. :)

Instead with this exercise I am going to ask you to simply slow down and chew your food at least 10 times per bite. Now, go grab yourself something to experiment with. I recommend something that you enjoy and with some flavor and substance (chocolate, toast with peanut butter, piece of fruit fresh or dried, cracker with slice of cheese).

Step 1: Slice your food into 6-8 bites. Size does not matter.

Step 2: The first bite I want you to only think about chewing the food completely, at least 10 chews. And just notice. Pay attention to how many chews 10 chews really is. Close your eyes. Think about the food in your mouth.

Step 3: For each bite after, focus on ONE element of the food: texture, flavor, consistency, change in taste, how it feels in your mouth. But remember to chew SLOWLY and at least 10 times for each bite.

Step 4: Observe.

What do you notice?

What happens to the flavor when you chew your food slowly? What happens when you chew more of your food?

Are you satisfied after one bite, two, four or all of it? What is satisfaction for you when you slow down?

I'll share with you what this exercise has done to my eating:

I used to shove bite after bite in my mouth. Sure I put my fork down and tried to "rest" in between bites but I was still chewing and swallowing my food in a matter of seconds. When I started to slow down and chew more, the flavor experience was unreal! There was so much more flavor to be enjoyed in every bite! I had been cutting the life of my food short by not really chewing it.

This morning I made oatmeal with drizzled coconut butter and dried apricot slices. Oatmeal is a bit challenging to chew because of how soft it is, but adding apricot slices made it more fun. Every bite that I took with the apricot was absolutely fabulous. The more I chewed that piece of fruit the more the flavor came alive. I couldn't believe how intense the taste was and how incredible the hint of coconut was. When I chewed quickly and without notice, I really didn't "get to" all of the flavor waiting in each bite.

This exercise has given me an entirely new definition of what savoring food is like. Now I'm putting the fork down because I so love the flavor of every bite and I don't want to let go of it yet!

Try this at home friends. Try this at every meal. Slow down. Chew your food MORE. Allow your mind, your body and your mouth to experience the food. Mindful eating can be fantastic!

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2 Responses to “Mindful eating exercise”

  1. You know I'm all for mindful eating. I could probably practice it more myself. I eat intuitively but I don't think I savor my food as much as I could because I'm always in such a rush with feeding the kiddos around the same time.

    And honestly – chewing my food 50 times grosses me out. Probably bec we had to do a similar experiment back in middle school and I remember the texture the food turned to made me GAG! Taking more time to eat though I can certainly get on board with.
    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun´s last [type] ..Stretch It Out

  2. Middle school chewing experiment! I love it! I think 50 times is pretty excessive for sure.

    You are my intuitive/mindful eating gal! Taking more time and really enjoying that bite longer than I usually do- so crazy satisfying!

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