When you think of mindful eating you might imagine one person alone eating. But mindful eating does not have to be a lonely task that you do by yourself. It is possible to eat mindfully if and when you are in social environments. Staying mindfully when you are eating in social situations is not eat. You have to be completely intentional when you eat mindfully. This post will give you tips on exactly how you can eat mindfully while you are in social environments.
Mindful Eating is typically described as "eating in silence, eating without distractions, focusing only on your food while you eat." In social settings, most of the time those mindful eating principles can't work.
Who wants to eat at the family dinner table in complete silence? What about dinner or a date with friends?
At the same time, it does become significantly harder to eat mindfully whenever you are in these social settings. When you are distracted by conversation or something else that it’s happening it becomes very easy to just start eating mindlessly.
If you have not been eating mindfully for a long time it is likely your brain will go into it's default behavior and just revert back to mindless eating.
That's why it's important to know when you are in social settings to know exactly how to be mindful when you eat.
When you are eating mindfully it is always important for you to be focused on the present no matter what. This does not change in social settings.
When you focus just on the present moment nothing else from the past or the future matters so you can fully keep your attention on what's in front of you.
If you have dinner with friends or family and you're worrying about that work you didn't finish or thinking about the things you have to do later, you won't enjoy the experience as much. It's the same reason why you don't enjoy food as much when you aren't focused in the present.
Being present helps you to pay attention to all of the unconscious tendencies that you might have. For example, you might find yourself reaching for food even after you are done eating just because there is a break in the conversation.
Eating while in a social situation is a unique experience and being present helps you explore all of the different aspects in that.
We recently wrote a blog post that explained how to be present. If you want more information on how to be present check this out [link]
The hardest part about being mindful in social settings is that you have to find time when you focus just on yourself.
It is almost impossible for you to listen to someone else talk, fully savor and enjoy the meal that you are eating, and check to see what your hunger is at the same time. If you try doing all of those things at the same time you probably won't be doing either job that well.
The purpose of a mindful pause is to tune out your outside environment to check in on how you feel.
You should wait for breaks in the conversation.
One of the easiest ways to stay mindful while you eat is to actually talk about what you are eating to another person. You can talk about the way the food tastes, smells, how the food makes you feel, and how much you are enjoying what you are eating.
Talking about what you are eating is also an easy way to remain present. You keep your focus on mindful details as you talk to someone else. You can also influence others to be mindful and think about mindful details as they eat!
You should try to focus on doing one thing at a time. When you are listening to someone talk you should only be listening. When you want to take a bite and savor the taste you should only do that.
If you are going to be taking a bite you might have to stop listening for a moment while someone is talking. This is very hard to do but if you are successful you can be completely mindful.