Written by Pam Connolly, Fitness Instructor + Certified Nutrition Coach
“Instead of following rigid rules created by outside experts, I will become the expert on meeting my own needs.” - Michelle May, author Am I Hungry?
I hope you enjoyed my first blog on Eating More Mindfully – Why Does it Matter?.
If not, you can go back and read that first as this blog builds upon what I talked about there.
To sum it up, the best way for each person to become a mindful eater is to start with an analysis of their current eating habits, and then make positive changes for the better accordingly.
In exercise 1, you were asked to:
“keep track of what you eat and when for one week. No judgment. Just get an idea of your eating pattern. Don’t worry so much about calories and nutrients, just the food and drink.”
This is a starting point to familiarize yourself with your eating.
We must eat to survive, plain and simple.
But the sky's the limit with human beings about the reasons behind and what each one of us puts in our mouth.
In this blog, I will briefly discuss reasons why it is so important to become a mindful eater, and the first strategy on how to become one.
Today, eating is entirely different now than it was 75 years ago.
The main, albeit general, reasons behind our methods of eating mainly stem from culture, society, mood, education, and upbringing.
Think about your specific situation, and how true this is!
There are both similar and different strategies in becoming more mindful for all, from the person who eats to satisfy emotional distress to the person who eats because they love food and enjoy having something tasty in their mouths often.
Tips and Tricks for Eating More Mindfully
#1: Breath deeply for a few moments before you eat
Regardless of what, where, how, why, when, frequency, and how much you eat, we can all benefit from closed eyes/deep breathing.
Every time before you eat a snack or meal, close your eyes (unless you’re driving, of course), and take 5 slow, deep breaths.
Notice any thoughts that come through your mind at this time. Just notice and observe without judgment.
I would also encourage you to write down whatever thoughts you noticed when you get a chance.
Then, proceed with your eating.
#2: 5 Minute Mindful Eating Meditation
#3: Mindful Eating Journaling Prompts
For exercise 2, analyze what you discovered about your eating patterns by using these helpful prompts:
What types of food do you eat (macronutrients, whole, processed, etc)?
Do you eat more of your calories in the morning, midday, afternoon, or evening?
How many drinks, when, and what kind of alcohol did you drink, if any?
How many drinks, when, and what kind of non-water drinks did you drink, if any?
What is your energy like before and after you eat meals and snacks?
Do you eat when you’re hungry, because you think you should, because it’s when you have time, you’re stressed, or because certain triggers (smells, presence, desire) lead to eating?
How do you feel when you’re done eating (satisfied, guilty, full, etc.)
Is your eating similar each day or does it vary from day to day?
What are the contributing factors to why you eat similarly or different day to day?
Do you notice if you eat differently at different times of the year (some crave different types of food in the winter vs. the summer, or due to different circumstances that happen in one’s life)?
Any other observations?
Becoming a more mindful eater helps us to control our appetite and ultimately eat the correct quantity and quality that best serves us to meet our mental and physical goals.
One of the best things about this sense of control is that it carries over into controlling other parts of our lives!
I always welcome comments, questions, and/or suggestions.
Until next time! Thanks for reading!
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