I’m living in China now with my husband, and we see some things that make us reflect. At the University where Jairo works, we see students bump into each other or a pole because they are looking at their phones. Everywhere we go, we see people on their phones, not a lot of individuals talk to each other.

In the canteen we see people having lunch together…Well… together, more like with a bunch of ‘friends’ on WeChat. They eat their meals on ‘automatic pilot’ and type and take selfies or food pictures.

A few years ago I would be so busy with working, that I would eat in front of the computer. I wasn’t sure what I stuffed in my mouth every time; I didn’t know if I liked it or not. I was just eating because that is what people do to survive. And then I’d get hungry again and snack a bit here and there.  Those Chinese students do the same. They are not present, let moments pass by, and forget they have a privilege: they have food, they have a bright future ahead of them. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life, you forget to actually live and appreciate simple things like food and a good conversation with a real person.

I started to understand the benefits of mindful eating as soon as I began working on myself. Mindful eating reduces stress; it helps you to lose weight, and it makes you feel happy. It is such an easy thing to do. The only thing you need to make is time. If you start with changing your eating habits, maybe you will be more mindful in other aspects of your life as well.

The challenge

Try to start eating mindful at least one dinner a week. It feels strange in the beginning, but after a while, you will see a difference in your eating habits.

  1. Turn off computer/tv/phone, anything that could distract you;
  2. Prepare your food;
  3. Sit in a comfortable position (on a table, on the floor, couch)
  4. Smell your food, what does your food smell like? How does it make you feel?
  5. Try to focus on the taste of the food every bite you take;
  6. Chew at least 20 times before you swallow;
  7. Eat until your satisfied. Don’t eat just because your mother taught you to ‘finish your plate’.
  8. How do you feel? What are your emotions right this moment? Let your mind wander. What is happening inside?
  9. If you are in the presence of company, have a meaningful conversation while you are eating mindfully.