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FreeTreat Activity #3: Love What You Eat

By Michelle May, M.D.

(This post is the 3rd FreeTreat activity in our stay-at-home-retreat e-book – download it free here. It is based on Chapter 6 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.)

Despite our remarkable ability to multitask, the truth is, our brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. When we eat and drive, work, read, or watch TV, something has to go on autopilot. Most of the time, it will be eating! If you’ve ever felt stuffed but unsatisfied after eating, chances are you’ve experienced this phenomenon.

The purpose of this activity is to bring your full awareness-body, mind, heart, and spirit-to the act of consuming a piece of fresh fruit, step-by-step.

  • When you’re hungry for a snack, select a piece of fresh fruit by noticing the color, texture, and aroma.
  • If needed, wash it carefully, feeling the water and watching it cascade over the surface of your fruit.
  • If necessary, peel it and cut it up into bite-sized pieces, paying attention to the movement of your hands, and the textures and aroma of the fruit as you do.Woman eating burger at desk
  • Place your fruit on a small attractive plate or napkin and find a calm, quiet place to sit.
  • Close your eyes for a moment and connect with your breath.
  • Simply feel yourself breathing for a few moments, consciously choosing calmness.
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up one piece of your fruit with your fingers, and look at it closely, using beginners mind.
  • Notice the colors, textures, patterns, and reflection of light. Allow yourself to be awed by the beauty and complexity of this simple snack.
  • As you bring it slowly up to your nose and mouth, notice the effortless movement of your hand and arm. You may even be aware that you are salivating.
  • Pause for a moment and really smell the aromas.
  • Place the piece of fruit on your tongue and observe its weight, texture, and taste. Are you aware of sweetness, sourness, or bitterness?
  • Now move it around your mouth, exploring the surface of the fruit.
  • When you’re ready, slowly bite down, listening and feeling as the fruit releases small packets of juice.
  • As you slowly chew, allow your taste buds to become fully saturated with the fruit.
  • Continue to breathe, bringing the aromas up into the back of your nose. It is the combination of taste and aroma that give you the unique flavor of this piece of fruit.
  • When you have fully experienced that bite, swallow mindfully, aware that the fruit now fills a small space in your stomach.
  • Pause before your next bite and notice that the flavor lingers.
  • Slowly finish your fruit this way. When you notice yourself becoming distracted or eating quickly, bring your awareness back to savoring this fruit, in this moment.
  • When you are done, express gratitude for your snack and your ability to enjoy it.

Reflect on your experience

What did you notice when you were fully present?

How did mindfulness change the experience of eating a piece of fruit?

How could you bring mindfulness to other meals-and other aspects of your life?

Next Post: FreeTreat Activity #4 – Eat What You Love


About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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