Have you ever finished a meal so quick you didn’t even realise it happened? Or you look down for another bite, and ohhh ohhh it’s gone! But where did it go?
The aspect of mindful eating is a beautiful process, yes I described eating as beautiful, but it truly is. Most of us when we eat have no connection to our food, we subconsciously just do the basics, purchase, bite, chew and swallow, to fulfil our hunger, or provide some satisfaction to our senses.
Im an avid believer for “You are what you eat”, not in the sense of you are going to physically turn into what you eat, if that was the case I would be a nut, (I already am in some way, but aren’t we all?). We become what we eat as it resonates in everything we do, it shows in our skin, in our energy level, in our mood and feelings, further more reflecting what we begin to crave.
We put so much pressure around our eating, what we should and shouldn’t be eating, when we should and shouldn’t eat, or when we eat something bad we punish ourselves in the gym or start to deprive, putting these pressures on ourself usually lead to restrictive, over eating or immense binging.
Being able to be one on one with your meals, I’m not saying you have to sit and pull apart every single bit or have a conversation with your salad, it’s about building the awareness with knowing what foods, do an don’t benefit you, knowing what foods are going to make you happily full not sickly full.
When we rush, are anxious or paranoid, we may need a quick fulfilment of joy, this usually forms in the connection of a high fat, sugary and salty goods. This most likely is between our main meals, Breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we start to have those mid afternoon cravings of something salty or sweet, it usually means we haven’t had enough substance from our previous meal, or have rushed through our meal, without digesting properly.
Living on a plant based diet, before each meal I ensure I have a range of proteins in each of my meals to obtain a complete protein for my day, this is through combining proteins, for example for lunch I had a salad with quinoa and added chickpeas, plus a tahini dressing, with this I have my complete protein, plus a good stable fat from the tahini. I try to include a stable good fat within each meal, so for me this is adding a range of nuts, avocado, oils and lots of green leafy vege, this ensures I’m not craving saturated fats when those cravings hit!
The ability to create your own meals builds a lot more understanding of fuelling your body correctly, as well as an appreciation of what you are creating and how it makes you feel after, helps to build balance and understanding for what our body is wanting from us. It’s the same in any given situation when you are proud of creating something that makes you feel good, this is the same with food.
The aspect of using pure fresh fruit and veggie, with all natural whole-food ingredients, allows us to know that we are creating and obtaining our food straight from the source, in it’s purest form, no added nasties, straight from its origin to our bellies!
But what about when you eat out you say? This is up to you, allow yourself to safely safely splurge every once in a while, but before you dive into that 7 course buffet plus dessert, sit with it and really enjoy the food you are eating for what it is, instead of aimlessly consuming like you're a bottomless pit! You will digest the food properly and reduce over eating and feeling bleh after.
Creating mindful practices around my own eating habits, truly increased my recovery and relationship with food. I grew to properly understand that what I put into my body, allows me to feel the way I feel, exercise to the point of my current energy levels, and build creativity and appreciation for something I once feared so much, as well as not put my sense of content around binge eating!
These are the steps I take for mindful eating:
1. Sit in a place away from external cues, such as phones, tv or the computer. Enjoy someone else’s company, get outside or somewhere you feel comfortable, test yourself for sitting without any distraction.
2. It’s not a race, take your time, and really chew and taste every element of your food
3. Look at what you are eating intently, look at the colour, shape, texture
4. Create a loving mindset, whilst eating, I am thankful for this food as it is nourishing my body and helping me stay healthy from the inside out!
If you find yourself rushing your food, feeling bloated after or not knowing what works for you, mindful eating can really help in reducing stress about dieting, or eating a certain way, it can help you pin point what is affecting your eating habits, and take corrective action around your next meal.
There is no pressure to get this right the first time, or define a right way of eating, it’s purely about what works for your body, we are all created, shaped and formed differently. Become aware, enjoy the good (naughty) stuff every now again, but further more know what will replenish you to make you the best version of yourself!
First step to creating a Mindful Eating Practice?