Mindful eating – eating in the presence with full-awareness and acknowledgment of food – is critical for a healthy relationship with your body and also for a healthy body overall.
If we sit down or even stand for a meal in a stressed state, it signals to our body we are not safe – this stress activation up-regulates the release of our stress hormones and insulin and signals to the body to store fat. As our body is prepping to fight-or-flight our digestive system is impaired and we do not release the necessary enzymes to break down, assimilate and absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. Eating in this state of mind is definitely not a way to nourish us. Being a slow relaxed eater who is mindful of their presence and appreciative of the food about to be enjoyed, assists with maintaining a healthy body weight and state of mind.
Tips on how to become a mindful eater
Stop the focus on WHAT you are eating and start focusing on HOW you are eating – the first step is recognising where you are going wrong – this is where change needs to occur
o Are you standing up to eat?
o Are you eating in the car on your way somewhere?
o Are you inhaling and swallowing your food because you have no time?
Let go of calorie counting
o Worrying about how many calories is in this or that will put your body in a state of stress just like the situation described above, this will impair digestion and encourage the body to store fat
Find pleasure in food
o Instead of calorie counting, remember food is to be enjoyed and food is a way to nourish ourselves, do not beat yourself up about a poor food choice, we all make them, sometimes they are nourishing and it is what our body needs from time to time
Take a deep breath before eating
o Sit down, look at your food, be thankful and take a deep breath in, know that the next 15-20mins is YOU time and nothing else matters
Eat slowly, savour every bite and CHEW
o We must chew our food to stimulate digestion and let the body know food is on its way
o Chew each bite thoroughly and put your knife/fork/spoon down between bites. This may be hard to begin with, especially if you are a busy type but try adding just 5 minutes to each meal and pat yourself on the back for this achievement
Have a think about why you’re rushing through your food
o Do you also rush through your life?
o What are you rushing for?
o Who are you rushing for?
o What benefit will you gain from rushing? (likely none!)
o STOP rushing for you – give time back to yourself, if we can understand WHY we are doing something it will help us change our negative behaviour
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Restrictive Eating, Body image, Picky Eating, Mindful Eating, Non-Dieting Approach, Healthy Relationship With Food, Healthy Weight Maintenance, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.