YAY it is finally time for my very first mindfulness challenge post! I’m so excited. As some of you saw on my Instagram story, I am going to be doing a monthly mindfulness series on the blog throughout 2018.
Of course we should try to implement staying mindful and present throughout everything we do, but this is pretty much impossible. So, to make it a little easier on us, I thought I’d break it down. Here’s how it will work…
Each month I will be challenging myself and all of you to be extra mindful in one specific area. Over the course of the year we’ll learn the benefits of staying present, engaged, and connected in 12 different areas of our lives. A big part of this will just be learning to put down our phones and truly live in the moment, even during the most mundane routines of life: eating, driving, walking, etc. Then, throughout each month, I’ll ask that you guys send me your observations while doing the challenge… the things you notice or the ways that it’s affected you. At the end of each challenge I will put together a blog post, like this one, sharing what we all experienced. The main focus of the post will be the benefits that come from focusing on mindfulness in that particular area of life.
SO! At the beginning of January I challenged all of us to stay mindful while eating. (I’m realizing now that I probably should’ve posted about the challenge on a few other channels, so as many of you would know about it as possible, but oh well… live and learn. At the end of this post I’ll be sharing what the challenge will be for February so we can start that one off with a bang, all on the same page. 🙂 )
What exactly does it even mean to “stay mindful while eating”?! When you’re eating, simply eat. That’s all there is to it. Nothing else. No using your phone, no watching TV, no reading, no eating and walking, no distractions. Whether you’re alone or with people, just focus on enjoying your food and/or company.
Instead of explaining why the heck we should even focus on staying mindful while eating in the first place, I want to talk about all of the benefits of doing so. I feel like this will pretty much explain the “why”. The items below are the result of a combination of things: my observations, the observations all of you shared with me, and several mindfulness books I swear by! (Linked at the end of the post).
The Benefits of Staying Mindful While Eating…
It makes you happy.
I SWEAR IT. When all you do is eat when you eat, you’re more likely to appreciate your food. More likely to be thankful for the way it’s nourishing your body and how good it (hopefully) tastes. People who take the time to be grateful for the small things are almost always happier.
- Elly says “I tried it this morning while I had my oatmeal. Even while I prepared my breakfast I focused only on that. It made such a difference and gave me more appreciation for that moment and the fuel I was putting into my body. It’s so easy to just grab your phone without even thinking… but taking the time to be conscious of the present was so powerful!”
It forces you to slow down.
So many of us live such crazy busy lives. Eating can sometimes feel like a hurdle or something that gets in the way of getting things done. We send emails while we eat, work on homework, talk on the phone, drive, etc. Staying mindful while eating gives us a chance to view meals in a different way. It gives us an excuse to take breaks from the rest of life – to just sit and chill.
I definitely experienced this benefit at work this month. Instead of scrolling on my phone during my lunch hour, I just sat there and peacefully ate my food. The hour seemed to last so much longer than it does when I waste time on Instagram and whatnot! I felt ready to get back to work instead of all over the place like I usually do.
You feel more present and connected.
Connected to your environment, the moment, the people you’re with. Why focus on staying mindful and present? If you don’t, you’re not truly living. You’re living in another world in your mind, when the beauty is most likely in the very moment you’re in.
- Stephanie about her experience: “…It was definitely different! I took a picture of my lunch then put my phone down. Almost grabbed my book to start reading but then I caught myself!! I really liked it, and definitely felt a lot more present.” YES girl this is so good! I love taking pictures of my food, I just make sure to put my phone down and post it later (like I did when taking the photos for this post).
- Ashley says “My husband and I started doing this every night at dinner. Much more present!”
- Lindsey: “I was able to enjoy a nice technology free breakfast with my amazing roommate Rachel and just talk about how we wanted to be more present.”
You’re more likely to eat a healthy amount for your body.
If you’re mindful about what you eat AND you’re mindful while you eat it, it will change your life. We’re constantly eating while we’re watching TV or doing other things… meaning our attention is divided and we’re distracted. It is sooo much easier to overeat or not eat enough when we do this. Be mindful during meals so you can truly notice when your body is satisfied.
- Alisha related with this one firsthand: “…As someone who dealt with an eating disorder it’s not very healthy for me to be scrolling through Instagram seeing different body shapes while eating, you know? I have noticed such a huge change in my mental health because of it so I always recommend to people to take a break from their phones while eating!”
- Laurine (my mama): “I stuck to it about 90% of the time… I did find that I was appreciating my food more and wasn’t as prone to eat too much. I really enjoyed this challenge!”
My mom brings up a good point. WE DON’T HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING. It’s all about balance. 90% of the time is amazing! Total or complete mindfulness is impossible to achieve. Now and then we all give in and that’s ok. Sometimes it feels really good to just lay there and eat ice cream while you scroll on your phone. The trick is to not do that all the time, and when you do do it, ENJOY IT. Don’t feel guilty.
So, as you can see, intentionally staying mindful while eating is incredibly beneficial. For your mind and for your body. Of course we can’t avoid distractions every time we eat (I mean c’mon we live in a country that’s obsessed with things like the Super Bowl… snacks everywhere) but doing so for the most part will pay off.
February Mindfulness Challenge
NOW what will it be for February?! This month’s mindfulness challenge is staying mindful while waiting and walking. Sounds weird but stay with me! The other day I was in Starbucks waiting for my drink and there were about 8 other people in there. Every single one of them was on their phone! It was so eye-opening to me. What if the person standing next to you is the gateway to your dream job? Or your long-lost cousin? And so many of us look at our phones when we’re walking from place to place. This month let’s put our phones away when we’re waiting and walking, and see what comes of it. Let’s be more mindful and observant of our surroundings. Who knows, we might see some amazing things we’ve never noticed in ordinary places or even meet some cool new people!
A few of my favorite mindfulness/health books…
Thank you so much for reading! And for joining me in staying mindful while eating! 🙂 So excited to see what we learn about mindfulness this month.