What is mindful eating??
Mindful eating is based on the Zen principle of mindfulness and requires your being acutely aware and conscious of the act of eating. This means engaging all of your scenes while eating; smell, touch, taste, texture. Do you actually like the food you are consuming? Are you truly hungry? Taping in to our inner guidance system; what foods make you feel great and what foods make you feel lousy?
As a nutritionist, I am extremely passionate about this topic. You see, anyone can go on a diet and lose weight, but the goal is to keep it off for life. My personal goal as a nutritionist is to help people change their lifestyle to keep the weight off for good this time.
Without the incorporating the concepts of “mindful eating” into your life, making it so ingrained that it is second nature to you, you will likely gain the weight back! I know that seems like a harsh statement, but it is true.
When we tune into our bodies and honour what our bodies want and need then it doesn’t seem like a diet anymore. It is eating for wellness, to live your best life. “Eating to Live, instead of living to Eat!!”
ESSENTIAL “MINDFUL EATING” TIPS!!
Eat with full awareness
o Before you begin eating, tune into your body. How are you feeling right now? Rate your hunger level?
o Eat without distractions!! Do you really feel satisfied after eating your snack or meal in your car, in front of the TV or even worse at the fridge door? Why not take a seat at your kitchen table, light a candle and/or make a nice cup of tea to enjoy with your snack/meal?? Use your nice dishware. Create a space that makes you feel good. Notice if you feel more satisfied when you take a few extra moments to make a nice space for yourself
o Eat until you are 70% full. Author Michael Pollen puts it simply, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. It really is a simple as that. You have to tune into your body to do this. You also have to eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that it is full. Notice what your body needs to feel nourished and not too full!
If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what you are eating, when you have had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist” ~GENEEN ROTH~
Engage all of your senses
o When was the last time you gave yourself the space and time to really pay attention to your food? Start by smelling you food. Take a few moments to notice what happens in your body when you smell your food. Is your mouth filling with saliva? Is your stomach grumbling? Do you like the smell of your food? Do you like the way it looks?
o Then feel the texture of your food. The popular chef, Jamie Oliver, continues to discuss on his show the importance of getting your hand involved in cooking. For example, the next time you are tossing a salad try use your hands. Notice how all of the textures feel on your palms and finger tips.
o When chewing, begin to notice the flavours and textures of the food. Name then to yourself.
o When you take the time to engage all of your senses you will gain more enjoyment from eating. This is something that I know for sure. Try it yourself! Notice if you get more satisfaction from less?
o As I said above, it takes 20 minutes to tell your brain that you are full. So what do you think is going to happen when you stuff your dinner down in less than 5 minutes?? You will likely eat too much and are not going to feel very satisfied. You will miss out on the pleasure of the food because you don’t really taste and enjoy the textures of the food you are eating.
o Homework – next time you eat something with sugars in it, for example an apple or other piece of fruit, notice the change in the flavours as you chew it. As you chew your saliva start the breakdown of the carbohydrates in the food making it sweeter with each bite.
Change your focus
o Why are you trying to lose weight or improve your health? What is your main objective? Have you even thought passed getting into those jean’s that you haven’t fit into since you were 19?? If you are losing weight for physical reasons, like fitting into those pair of jeans, you will most likely eventually fall off the wagon. I have found that for most of us, it has to be about more than that. Life gets too busy and hectic. On a stressful day, getting into those jeans or whatever else it is will be the last thing on your mind.
o Make a list of 100 reasons why health and feeling your best is important to you. The more clear you are on why you want to eat healthy, the more likely you are to stay on track!
o What do you want to achieve in this beautiful life of yours? What is most important to you? How will choosing the best foods and eating what makes you feel your best help you achieve those goals.
o On a personal note; I know for myself, that I would not be able to do this job that I LOVE if I did not make healthy choices at each meal and exercise on a regular basis. I need to be present with each client to help them achieve their health goals and if I don’t take care of my physical body, I would not have the energy and focus to do it. That is one of the things that drives me to eat well and take care of my physical body on a daily basis. What drives you??
o It is estimated that 90% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies! Even after weight loss is achieved most women are dissatisfied with some aspect of their bodies. If your goal is to lose weight to like the way you look then you are missing part of the puzzle. The goal is to love yourself right now, the way you are! Love yourself enough that you want to take amazing care of this human body that you are now residing in. Then you will be making choices from a different place, making healthy eating plan a lifestyle that is built on the desire to feel your best, not to be a certain size. It is then, that you will have a lasting change!
Nourish yourself in other ways
o Brainstorm on other things that would nourish you after a stressful day besides food.
o Examples; herbal teas, hot bath, yoga, meditation, relaxing essential oils, music (listening to music while I making dinner, while having a relaxing bath, cleaning my house, etc. Also love live music), reading a great book, sunshine. These are examples of what I find nourish me in my life. Make your own list and add these things into your daily life. When you incorporate these things into your daily life you will nourish your spirit and not feel like you need food to support you after a hard day,
o ACTION STEP ~ Create a list of 50 things other than food that soothes your soul. If you need some help check out the book “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food” By Susan Albers PhD.
o Start incorporating these into your daily and weekly life and watch how your world changes.
Focus on connecting with people
o When you are on a “diet” if you even want to call it that (I like to think of it as a lifestyle revamp), it can be easy to be obsessed with food. When you go to parties, weddings or even worse going up to someone’s cottage for a whole weekend, food is commonly the main focus when people get together and that can be difficult when you are trying to stay on track with your healthy eating plan. What has helped me is to create an intention to focus more on the people at the gathering than that big bowl of nachos and cheese that can sometimes seem to be calling your name. When you change your focus, the food doesn’t seem to call your name anymore. Where attention goes, energy flows!!! When you change your focus and attention the food sits in the background and doesn’t have the same power over you!
Eat foods that make you feel good! Listen to what your body wants!
o I can assure you that the chocolate cake that has been calling your name might make you feel good for a moment, but after that you will feel crappy. That is not what your body truly wants.
o One of the first questions I ask all of my clients is about their energy levels. The fact is that most people are walking around with low energy levels most of the time. When healthy dietary changes are made, energy levels improve quite quickly. Our bodies respond when we make the best food choices. We all know what foods make us feel our best. Focus on choosing foods that make you feel good and achieving your ideal weight will be an awesome side effect of those choices.
It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale! We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical beings to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed something in us rebels. ~Geneen Roth~
Women Food & God By: Geneen Roth
When Food is Love By: Geneen Roth
Excuses Begone By: Wayne Dyer
The Power of Intention By: Dr Wayne Dyer
A New Earth By: Eckhart Tolle
50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food” By Susan Albers PhD.
The Quest for Peace, Love and a 24” Waist By: Deborah Low
Look for me on CP24 (Toronto station) this Friday @ 7pm. I will be on Wylde on Health with 2 of my favorite people in the world of natural health; Dr Joey Shulman and Dr Bryce Wylde!!
SHARE WITH ME!! DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS THAT HELP KEEP YOU ON TRACK WITH YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO FOOD AND MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE? WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND WHAT DOESN'T WORK FOR YOU????
WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!