Let’s talk about Mindful Eating. We’ve heard the term be tossed around for a little bit of time now, and it’s still not super clear.
Eating Mindfully is the practice of slowing down, processing your food, enjoying the experience, and actually paying attention to the act of eating. If that sounds too woo-woo for you, there’s something else you should know about mindful eating- you will actually eat less and feel more satiated (satisfied) when you practice eating mindfully than you do when you mindlessly shovel food into your face.
When you start to practice eating mindfully, it can feel really daunting- a lot of gurus on the interwebs say that you should be putting your fork down and chewing your food 30x with each bite, shutting down all other distractions- turn off your computer, your phone, and TV. This might seem like too much to even fathom taking on with our hectic lives and busy schedules. If you read my post on building habits, you know that all it takes is a small action every day that you can do consistently to start building strong, healthy habits. This is no different!
Here are some tips on how to practice mindful eating, without trying to do too much all at once:
Prioritize at least 1 meal to start- set aside at least 15-20 min to sit and eat 1 meal every day. If that is your breakfast, awesome! If it’s lunch, where you can walk away from work for a little break in the middle of the day, fantastic! If it’s dinner and you can sit with your family, even better! Just pick one, and commit to eating that meal sitting down in a chair, without looking at your computer or phone.
Take a breath between bites- instead of focusing on how many times you are chewing your food, focus on taking one deep breath after each forkfull of food you take. This will naturally slow you down a bit and allow your brain to process the food you’re currently eating.
Prepare your own food- if you can cook your own food for the meal you sit down for, you will enjoy the experience so much more (even if you’re not a great cook like me!). Even if you take the time to reheat your food (if you’re eating your meal at work)- a warm meal will help you stay present!
Start small- habits take consistency and persistence to develop!
Eating mindfully can help you with a lot more than just weight loss- it can help you with stress management, sleep, and feeling more satisfied after each meal. Set yourself up for success with a daily reminder, or block off time daily to spend practicing mindful eating.
The best gift you can give someone else this season is the gift of your sanity, health, and happiness. Don’t forget to take care of you- you’re no good to anyone else if you’re not doing well.
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