Mindful eating? Take the chocolate challenge.
In case you hadn’t heard, March is National Nutrition Month! Although every day, week, and month is nutrition month over here at Bee Nutritious, we’re giving an even bigger shout out to everyone working towards improving their diets this month, and hosting some special blog posts to commemorate the occasion.
Instead of leading off with specific foods you should (and shouldn’t) be eating, we wanted to focus on something even more important — how you’re eating. If we’re losing you… keep reading. By the end of this blog you’ll be eating chocolate!
Many of us don’t think about eating while we’re eating. Sound strange? Consider how often thoughts of work, family, friends, and to-do lists take over during your dining experience. And how rarely you focus on the taste, smell, texture, and look of your food. The benefit to bringing your thoughts back to food while eating is that it can help you get more in tune with your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues and bring more satisfaction to your eating experience — and that can mean that you’re less likely to overeat.
One of our favorite exercises in practicing mindful eating is an exercise called “How to eat a piece of chocolate”. But it’s not our favorite just because we love chocolate. This exercise shows you firsthand the intense difference being more mindful while you’re eating can make on the way your food tastes — and also the increase in satisfaction you have when you eat mindfully. Here’s how to do it:
How to eat a piece of chocolate:
Begin this exercise with one Dove Dark Chocolate Promise (or a single tasting square of your favorite dark chocolate).
- Make note of your surroundings. Are you where you want to be? Are you comfortable? What are your emotions? If you’d like to change any of these things, do so before eating your chocolate.
- Breathe. Take a few deeps breaths — and notice if you’d been taking full breaths before starting the exercise.
- Hold the chocolate in your hand. Notice the design of the wrapper and the weight and shape of the chocolate.
- Unwrap the chocolate slowly and neatly. This isn’t a race.
- Smell the chocolate using a couple slow, deep breaths. Think about the different “notes” you get from the smell (i.e. heavy, light, sharp, spicy, sweet, warm, vanilla, almond, etc.) Anything you’d not noticed before?
- Break the square in half, then break each half in half.
- Place one quarter of the square into your mouth and allow it to slowly melt into the warmth of your tongue.
- Notice how the taste and texture changes from the time you first place the chocolate into your mouth to the time it is completely melted.
- Take a moment to reflect on, and fully enjoy, the flavor, texture, smell, and look of the chocolate.
Now, we realize that not every eating experience will afford you the opportunity to practice each of these steps — but it’s a great exercise in boosting your overall mindfulness and an important reminder as to just how powerful the connection between our mind and body is. Your challenge this month is to do the chocolate activity (we know, we know … such torture!) and then to expand that mindfulness to your daily meals and snacks.
Which meal do you think you’ll have the toughest time being mindful of? The easiest?