After a long day of fasting, it’s very easy to overeat at Iftar time and not focus on what you’re eating due to hunger and thirst. After all, we all don’t want to gain weight during Ramadan and would like to lose a few pounds or at least maintain our weight.
Ramadan is a time when it is most important to practice patience and mindful eating noting the health benefits and rewards it brings. Here are some steps to help you eat mindfully during this holy month.
STEPS TO MINDFUL EATING…
This ancient practice can transform the way you think about food and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Like most of us, you’ve probably eaten something in the past few hours. And, like many of us, you may not be able to recall everything you ate, let alone the sensation of eating it. Because we’re working, driving, reading, watching television, or fiddling with an electronic device, we’re not fully aware of what we’re eating.
By truly paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in foods like a cheeseburger and fries less often. In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it. In the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, Dr. Lillian Cheung and her co-author, Buddhist spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh, suggest several practices that can help you get there, including those listed below.
Begin with your shopping list.
Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your shopping trolley in the produce section and avoid the centre aisles—which are often heavy with processed foods—and skip the sweets at the checkout counter.
Come to the table with an appetite.
If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
Start with a small portion.
It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
Appreciate your food.
Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.
Bring all your senses to the meal.
When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
Take small bites.
It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.
Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavours that are released.
If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.