Eating mindfully is pretty much the best nutritional advice you can give someone. It’s not too restrictive and it’s pretty much straight to the point. Eat, but also listen to your body. I’ve gotten to the point where I personally no longer have mindless eating binges, but there are still occasions where I will eat more than I should in one sitting BECAUSE it’s within my daily calorie limit or it’s healthy. Those are the behaviors I’d like to help people target in this entry. I want to teach people effective techniques for listening to their bodies and learning how to save some for later.
The most important meal of the day, they say. According to Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist, you’re less likely to overeat later if you eat a balanced breakfast within two hours of waking. It also sets you up for healthy eating for the rest of the day. You might not be thoroughly hungry upon waking, but you will be soon, so it’s better to make the decision to eat healthy for your future self before you have the chance to make unhealthy decisions out of ravenous hunger.
EAT ONLY WHEN HUNGRY
This is the most basic run of eating mindfully. You have to listen to your body. This can be hard sometimes because you might find yourself wondering whether or not your hungry. For instance, sometimes, when I feel physically weak I cannot tell if I’m actually hungry. In those situations I end up fixating on the idea of whether or not I’m hungry and end up actively eating more food than I actually need based on the preceding act of fixation. Instead of wasting time wondering whether your hungry or not if you feel weak or tired and you have the capacity to eat, just get something inside of you. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to voraciously gobble down the next large meal that’s put in front of you.
Don’t fight your mind, eat, but eat slowly and deliberately so you don’t miss any cues of fullness as well.
IF YOU FEEL PAIN IN YOUR STOMACH, STOP AND WALK AWAY
The moment your stomach starts hurting while your eating, that’s an instant cue that you’re either full or approaching fullness. If possible have the food removed from in front of you or put it away yourself and spend some time doing something else. You can talk, you can walk, you can read, you can watch something, anything. Whatever it takes to get yourself out of the eating mindset.
LEAVE THE CLEAN PLATE CLUB
Learn to love your leftovers. Don’t feel like you have to eat everything on your plate, especially if you’re already full. You don’t have to throw out your food, but you do have to listen to your body. If you aren’t hungry, do not eat. It’s OK to ask for a box or share your meal with someone else if you’re eating out. This is just one small little thing you can do to live a happier and more nutritious life.
CONCENTRATE WHEN EATING
If you’re a beginner like I am, it’s very difficult for me to eat without some distraction on in the background. In order to cultivate mindful eating as a habit, you need to spend a few meals completely focused on you food, tasting it, chewing it, swallowing it. You should do all those things before taking another bite. This can be very hard at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets. It’s OK to do things without food present. You don’t need a plate of food to watch your favorite television show.
BE WILLING TO FORGIVE YOUR MISTAKES
Hey, nobody is perfect. We all fall off the wagon sometimes. Don’t let messing up keep you from continuing to make progress. Everyone knows that life can get in the way sometimes and keep us from doing the things that we really want to do. That’s totally normal and totally fine. You will likely fall off the wagon numerous times before you begin to make consistent progress and that’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up by giving up or eating less mindfully just because you made a mistake. It’s OK to forgive yourself, let things go, and start again.