Mindful Eating In 2018

Happy New Year everyone!  Being it is the start of a brand new year, I know many people are looking for new ways to strengthen their health & well being in 2018 and losing weight & eating healthier are likely at the top of that goal list.

Mindful Eating is a healthy living strategy that is clinically proven to help people gain control over their eating habits which can lead to reduced stress, improved mental focus, weight loss & many health other benefits, including:

  1. You learn to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re sated.
  2. You learn to really taste food, and to enjoy the taste of healthy food.
  3. You slowly start to realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as you thought, nor does it make you feel very good.
  4. As a result of the above three points, you will often lose weight if you’re overweight.
  5. You begin to sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating. This takes a bit longer, but it’s important.
  6. Social overeating can become less of a problem — you can eat mindfully while socializing, with practice, and not overeat.
  7. You begin to enjoy the eating experience more, and as a result enjoy life more, when you’re more present.
  8. It can become a mindfulness ritual you look forward to.
  9. You learn how food affects your mood and energy throughout the day.
  10. You learn what food best fuels your exercise and work and play.

So how does Mindful Eating work?  You start by practicing Mindfulness – learning to be in the present moment while you are eating, fully attending to what you are eating, where you are eating, how you are are eating.  Easier said then done in today’s busy world I know, but if you want something different you must be willing to try something different – so think of this in terms of working smarter not harder & see what you can do to start incorporating a couple of these ‘8 Steps to Mindful Eating’ by Harvard Health into your life:

1. Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.

2. Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.

3. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.

4. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

5. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.

6. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.

7. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.

8. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.

What possibilities lie ahead in 2018 for you?!?  What is stopping you from making this your best year yet?  One small step in the right direction is all you need to get started.

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Mindful Eating In Reality

 

mindful-eating

I came across this article regarding the realities of Mindful Eating & wanted to share because I understand where we can feel challenged at the prospect of incorporating Mindful Eating into our lives on a regular basis.

7 Realistic Ways to Approach Mindful Eating

We only derive the amazing health benefits of Mindfulness & Mindful Eating if we practice regularly to reinforce the skills.  Time is often listed as one of the main barriers to success – making Mindful Eating a priority can seem like ‘one more thing’ on an already long list of things to do each & every day.

This is where Mindset & Motivation come in.  Our brain is the most powerful tool in our bodies.  What we think is how we will behave.  If we don’t think something is possible it won’t be.  Combine a healthy Mindset with & clear understanding of our Motivation for why making changes to our health & well being are so important.  How motivated are you to make these changes?  10/10?  8/10?  5/10?  When the cause truly means something to you & the vision is clear, the daily tasks become easier to complete.

In this Sonima article author Brian Sabin realistically describes his first foray into Mindful Eating & provides tips for making Mindful Eating more doable on a daily basis:

My first time trying a mindful eating exercise, I spent nearly half an hour eating a single clementine. Consuming the fruit so slowly and deliberately definitely gave me a better appreciation for its taste and texture. But it also left me feeling like, “Welp, there’s no way I’ll be able to do this on a normal day.” I’m a working parent of two, which means breakfast is something I often consume standing up, usually while I simultaneously try to fill bowls of oatmeal for my wife and daughter, quell toddler tantrums before they become baby-waking meltdowns, and unload a dishwasher.

Seven simple ways to practice Mindful Eating:

1. Choose healthy, not convenient, foods. Give some thought to what you’re putting into your body and how it will affect you, rather than defaulting to the most convenient option.

2. Say grace. Or have a moment of silence. Do whatever best aligns with your beliefs and traditions and acknowledges the work that went into creating the meal before you.  Be grateful for the sustenance before you.

3. When in a group, try a small dose of silence. Simply eat & appreciate the moment for a minute or two with full attention to what you are doing.  Use your senses – what do you see, hear, taste, touch, smell?  Take it all in & be aware of what you are doing.

4. To slow things down, count your chews. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people chewed almonds at least 25 times or more, their bodies absorbed more of the healthy fats contained by the nuts than other test subjects who chewed only 10 times.

5. Portion your meal based on the time you have to consume it. “If your mealtime is short—for example, during your lunch break at work—plan on a smaller meal rather than just cramming down a large meal quickly”.

6. Avoid skipping meals. When you’re hungry like the wolf, you’re a lot more likely to devour whatever is in your path (i.e., vending machine goodies). This is why it’s so easy to pass over healthier options like fruits and vegetables that might not be as readily accessible or need preparation for consumption.

7. If you do have a spare hour, try this. Take an entire hour (or 30 minutes) to eat dinner. “I prepare dinner, set a timer and say, ‘You are going to stay here for an hour. You can’t leave. It’s part of the exercise. You finish your meal in 15 minutes, you are going to be sitting here for 45 minutes.’ Knowing that they have to be there for an hour really slows them down and makes them deliberately savor the experience”.

Start small.  One step (bite!) at a time.  Rinse & repeat every day. Mindset is everything.  You will be successful only if you don’t quit.

Mindful Eating BASICS by Tasting Mindfulness:

Breathe and Belly Check for hunger and satiety before you eat.

Assess your Food

Slow Down

Investigate your hunger and satiety throughout the meal

Chew Your Food Thoroughly

Savor Your Food

Live Mindfully & Prosper all – one day, one step, one meal, one bite at a time!