Mindfulness is about being present, in the moment. Mindful eating is a part of the mindfulness movement, and if you want your mind “full” and focused on improvement instead of your belly, this tip sheet should help you get on track!
5 Steps for Eating Mindful instead of Mindless
Listen to your body! Stop eating when you’re full.
Good food can be tricky, and you know you shouldn’t eat that next bite but it’s ‘so good!’ What do you do? Think of how much better you will feel over the next few hours walking around satiated rather than bloated and tired. A great way to avoid this altogether is portion control, which takes the decision out of your hands. Planning is the most mindful move you can make.
Eat based on physical signals rather than emotional.
Your body will tell you when you need to eat, you’ll start to feel lethargic and your gut will literally speak to you (its English isn’t great but it gets the point across). Don’t make food decisions because you’re sad, lonely, or bored; this leads to eating disorders. Find more constructive activities when you’re sad or lonely, for instance; join your local CrossFit gym. Exercise is one of the best cures for depression.
Eat meals at planned times with others instead of randomly and alone.
There is a reason the family meal has been a staple of all civilizations since we became civilized. I know this past year has been a bit uncivil and your eating patterns may have suffered. Just know that getting on a proper schedule and sharing your meals is a great way to make sure mealtime doesn’t turn into an unhealthy binge.
Make your food choices based on nutritional value and not emotional comfort.
So-called “comfort foods” generally make us comfortable only as long as we’re eating them, then very uncomfortable afterward. So trading a few minutes of dining on ‘less comfortable food’, for hours of physical comfort seems like a logical tradeoff right? Not to mention once you are used to eating nutritional food it will become your new comfort food, especially if you equate it with the feeling of accomplishment you’re able to achieve through the process.
Treat eating as the sacrament it is and do not multitask
Eating doesn’t take very long so no one is truly too busy to eat, your phone and computer can wait for 10 minutes. Think of it on a spiritual level, you are ingesting life to bring yourself more energy, taking that into account you should be deeply grateful for what you’ve been blessed with. Pay it the respect it deserves.
Digging Deeper: More Mindful Eating Tips
Following the five steps, we outlined above is a great start, but there is so much more to mindful eating.
- Mindful eating starts with mindful shopping. Go to the market with a list of healthy ingredients, this will help you avoid those impulse buys that lead to unwanted calories.
- Don’t skip meals. keep a schedule If you skip meals, you may be so hungry all your inhibitions fly out of the window and your body won’t handle it well. Turn your body into a well-oiled machine by filling up regularly.
- PORTION CONTROL! One of the biggest benefits our clients find with PLN meals is our perfect portion sizes. You can do this at home by using smaller plates and measuring your food.
- Be thankful for your bounty. Before eating, just think of all the work it took to get this food in front of you and enjoy the people you’re sharing the meal with.
- Eat with all of your senses. Taste is about more than the actual ‘taste’. Appreciate the food’s beauty, smell its aroma, appreciate the individual ingredients.
- Small bites and chew thoroughly. If you are appreciating the food this should be easy. Try putting your utensil down between bites. When you take your bites, try to identify the spices and flavors. Chewing thoroughly will unlock more flavor than inhaling it, I promise you.
You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure
Measure How Food Makes You Feel
- Start off eating how you normally do. Select the foods, amounts, and the times for eating that you normally do, only now add the mindfulness we’ve taught you above to what you are doing.
- Keep a record of all that you eat, yes even those couple almonds in between meals. Measure it all. Track it with an app, or a simple notepad on your phone.
- Track your emotional and physical feelings after meals. 5 minutes, 1 hour, and 3 hours. Log the feelings.
- Notice if there has been a shift or change as the result of eating. Do you feel better or worse than before you ate? Do you feel energized or tired? Alert or sluggish?
This will help you learn what foods and eating habits work best for you and your unique lifestyle.
Mixing and matching different foods
- Experiment with your food to find your perfect cuisine
- Try eating less food more often, or less food, period.
- If you’re a meat-eater, spend two or three days excluding meat from your diet.
- Or perhaps exclude red meat, but include chicken and fish.
- Remove certain foods from your diet: salt, sugar, coffee, or bread, for example, and see how this affects how you feel.
- Play with food combinations. Try eating solely starch meals, protein meals, fruit meals, or vegetable meals.
- Keep a record of everything you observe in yourself as you experiment with your eating habits. The question you’re trying to answer is: “Which eating patterns add to the quality of my life, and which detract?”
- Continue experimenting with different types, combinations, and amounts of food for two or three weeks, tracking how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Everything’s more lovely with a happy tummy!
This post will lead to a happier healthier life. Let us know how we can help you with your mindful eating by contacting us or visiting one of our locations.
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