What is mindfulness?
“Deliberately paying full attention to what is going on around you and within you. Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgment.” [i]
We live such a fast-paced life we actually forget to slow down. Unfortunately, we do this A LOT with our eating. We’ve actually forgotten how to enjoy a meal (or at least many of us have).
What can you do to enjoy the meal?
When you are eating, enjoy what you are eating and think about the positive things that happened during the day while you eat. If you aren’t even “thinking” while you are eating, honestly, that could be part of your problem if you are overweight. We have a tendency to think about the “bad” things that happened during the day. You can start associating “bad” with eating. Make eating a pleasurable, positive experience.
SLOW DOWN when you eat. It is so easy to eat fast as you may have tons of other things to do. Guess what, make and take the time to have a nice meal. ENJOY!
If the food does not make you happy, then you better rethink what you are eating and why.
Do take a look to see what is going on around you while you eat? Do you have chaos going on, or is there some calmness in the house or restaurant?
Make your environment inviting for you to eat. Regardless of the size of the space of your kitchen/dining area, you can make it an inviting place to eat.
How can you avoid mindlessly munching or grazing without tasting the food?
OMG, mindlessly eating can be so easy to do. According to How to Train a Wild Elephant, “when we are not present, it makes us feel vaguely but persistently dissatisfied. It leads to those moments when we are pierced with a feeling of deep doubt and loneliness.”
Think about it…you are sitting on the couch grazing on the chips, popcorn or ice cream. Not a care in the world. The next thing you know, you have eaten the entire bag or the entire pint. UGH! Besides being mindless eating, this is emotional eating as well.
5 Tips to Change this Habit!
- Pay Attention to Your Body. What would satisfy this craving?Are you starved so you grab anything or are you bored and just want something to do? Unfortunately, when you are not paying attention to your body and eating aimlessly, you end up eating the entire bag or pint and then feeling completely guilty about the whole thing. You may have really been thirsty instead. Take the time to find out why you are scavenging through the cabinets. Maybe you’ll make a better choice of what you are going to munch on.
- Let cravings have their way – modestly! I will use me for an example here. I LOVE dark chocolate. My go-to is Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. I eat 3 of them after dinner. 3.Can I eat more? Heck yea! I take my 3 and put the container back in the refrigerator. I go sit on the couch and ENJOY – slowly, my 3 chocolate covered almonds. I enjoy the texture, taste and crunch. When I eat them slowly, it satisfies my cravings.
Three of these bad boys satisfy any sweet tooth I may have after dinner. Why?
I ate them slowly and was mindful of them. I NEVER feel guilty about my fun little chocolate pleasure.
- Use all of your senses when you eat. Read #2. I use my other senses to enjoy that piece of chocolate. Also, enjoy the different colors of food on your plate. If you lack color on your plate – add that in. It’s fun to have a pretty plate of food to eat!
- Try eating in silence or playing classical type music while eating. Again, we have such a fast-paced life. We are always in a hurry. Silence will help slow us down or soft, slow music. Let your brain relax and your body while you eat. This helps you enjoy what you are eating.
- The Electronics! Do 1 thing at a time and this one may be hard for people. Turn off your electronics while you eat. This goes for the kids and the adults! No cell phones, iPads, or tv (unless you have soft music going). This actually allows you to SLOW DOWN with no distractions! What…a family discussion? Just kidding…..
I hope these tips are helpful! If you prefer the video, click here.
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[i] Jan Chozen Bays, MD, “How to Train a Wild Elephant”. 2011.