Take a deep breath and think about your day. Did you rush off with coffee and a bagel for breakfast? Did you skip breakfast? When you ate lunch, where were you sitting? At your computer? Did you savor your food? When you ate your snacks, how much did you eat? Were you distracted? Did you realize that you ate half the bag of chips?
Mindful Eating is something that many people struggle with. We have become so used to eating on the go or eating with distractions that we tend to not focus as much on our food. The result is that we eat fast, our digestive systems can’t keep up, we don’t notice our full signals, and we tend to gain weight.
Mindful Eating is becoming self-aware of how you feel when you eat-- not just physically, but also emotionally.
Mindful Eating focuses on the What, Why, When, and How:
What: What foods am I craving?
Why: Why am I craving it?
When: Is this a good time to eat?
How: How much should I eat? How am I feeling?
When you do eat, focus on savoring the taste. Show gratitude for your food and slow down, and relax. When we eat calmly, our body responds by fully digesting our food. In contrast, when we eat out of stress or anxiety, our body reacts by slowing down our metabolism. Ask yourself on a scale of 0-10, how hungry you are (10 being starving).
One tool is to keep a Mindful Eating Journal. Keep track of the food you ate, how you felt- both physically and emotionally as well as your hunger level at the time. This will be a very eye opening exercise. When you do this, chances are that you will release your weight naturally. Mindful Eating does not focus on diets or restrictions that cause so many of us to gain and lose the same 10 pounds.
Remember.... it’s okay if you fall off the wagon... pick yourself up and give yourself GRACE! We have all been there and food cravings our normal. The key is learning how to handle our cravings, as well as really getting inside of our bodies and becoming aware of the messages it is telling us, so that we can find true and lasting weight loss and health.