There are those people who can spend half an hour eating their meal. They take small little bites and savour each and every one of them. They pay attention to the texture of the food, the way it smells and how it feels on their tongue. They take their time and enjoy their meals to the fullest. I'm not one of them.
I'm a fast eater. Always have been. I can finish an entire meal in about 5 minutes. And although that may sound convenient to some, for me it's something that I've really been wanting to change for a while now. I hate hearing the astonished "have you finished your meal already?!". When I eat with friends, I try to slow down to their pace but when I'm alone, I devour my meal at the speed of light. And that leaves little time to really enjoy the food.
So yeah, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I got an email if I wanted to try out an online coaching program from Mazlo, amongst which was the 'Mindful Eating' program. "Learn how we can help you become your best self". That's the first sentence I read on their website. OK, well I'm all for becoming my best self here so bring it on. How could Mazlo help me become Shelley 2.0?
I decided to go for the Mindful Eating program and started right away. The program lasts for 2 weeks and you get a personal coach who will guide you in your day-to-day activities. Cool! But before I started, I was to fill in a short little questionnaire about my goals with this program and complete a self-assessment of how mindfully I was eating now. I also needed to write down my main motivation, which I'll come back to later.
The next day, I got a really cute personal video message from my coach, Emily. She introduced herself but also really went into the details of my motivation. So it's not some generic video everyone receives - no, they are completely personalized. I noticed we could also exchange messages in the chat function in the Mazlo site. Awesome!
When I came back to the site the next day to start my coaching program I was immediately confronted with the motivation I had written down. They would show this to me every time I logged in, reminding me again and again what I was trying to achieve. It kept my focus clear and got me working towards one specific goal: taking more time to eat my meals.
A 2-week Mazlo coaching program gives you small daily tasks, guided with an audio exercise, which you have to complete in order to help you achieve your goal. For example, on day six I had to eat with my non-dominant hand (very clumsily, definitely takes more time), and the next day I had to rate my hunger on a scale before, during and after the meal. Every task was different, but the introduction stayed the same for each one of them: take 3 deep, long breaths, and first really notice what's on your plate. How it smells, how it looks, what texture it has...
So, did I like it?
Well, at first, I'll admit I really had to get used to it. I felt very impatient and felt it took such a long time to eat a meal (duh, that was the point, dumbass!). But as I noticed changes in how I experienced the food and how much more I tasted the flavours, I was convinced. Mindful eating is the sh*t! I discovered that I under appreciated some super delicious food (like quark with oats and honey, yum!) and also that I could actually take the time to eat. It's not that hard. Taking small bites and paying attention to the flavour doesn't have to be a super time-consuming task and no, your food won't get cold either.
When I had questions about the tasks or about difficulties I encountered, I could just send a message to my coach and she would get back to me within a day. Even if I didn't have a question, she checked in on me every day and sent me helpful tips, interesting articles on mindful eating, or just some motivation. Sometimes in the form of a message, other times through a video.
So yes, maybe in the first couple of days, you'll feel like an idiot. Like when I did the first exercise and I had to examine a raisin very thoroughly before I ate it. I was at the #FITGIRLCODE office and hoped nobody would see me do it ;), but the other exercises I did were from the comfort of my own home and I can see why they work. I still use several of the practices in my daily routine now, like first taking in the smell, texture and look of the food before I eat it. Or, sometimes when I notice that I'm eating really fast again, I start using my non-dominant hand to slow myself down. It helps!
So my final opinion: I would definitely recommend anyone to do this. Besides mindful eating you can also follow other programs like the 10-Minute Workout, Body Maintenance, or Mindfulness Meditation. There are plenty of programs to choose from! And the first 25 Fit Girls who use the code 'FITGIRL' get a free program of their choice! So don't waste much time, check it out now :)