These 5 steps for mindful eating will bring forth a healthier relationship with food — and a healthier you
Each new year brings with it with the promise of a life more fulfilled, a chance to dream bigger and look to new horizons. It is a time where we allow ourselves a moment to look ahead and reach for something we long for, unique to our individual needs. It can also be a benchmark where we make a renewed commitment to our health and well-being, to reach for our healthiest best selves. The theme of Mindful Revolution is a self-empowering way to stretch beyond the status quo, to turn up the volume of our health and allow ourselves to live life to the fullest in each moment.
How do we bring a Mindful Revolution to our plates? When we hear the term “mindfulness,” a vision of a Zen Buddhist monk in a monastery focusing on his breath may come to mind. The good news is that we don’t need to be anywhere specifically but where we are right now in order to be mindful. It only requires our attention and desire. Practicing mindfulness in our daily lives combines both a powerful sacredness with a kick-ass ninja quality.
Consider this: if you were mindful enough to know exactly what your body needed at all times, how much time would you save perusing the fridge, looking at the food on the shelves at the grocery store wondering what to buy, or worrying about what to order from a menu? How many cookies would you pass up, or cups of coffee? What time would you go to sleep each night if you were mindful of when you were tired and ready for rest? If you practiced this each day, and felt your BEST, how could this impact all aspects of your life? What would you do with that extra energy, time, and focus you had gained? Sounds like a win-win — what are you waiting for?
Here are 5 ways to bring a Mindful Revolution to your plate:
- Take a quick time-out: Check-in and ask yourself, “Am I hungry, and if so, for what?” Listen to the answer. (If it’s a double-fudge sundae, you might want to ask again). Try to remember the last time you ate one — how did that feel afterward? What comes up? Alternatively, “If I choose not to have the sundae, what else would I want? What is my body really craving . . . protein, a healthy fat, certain vitamins and minerals?” A more nourishing meal may pop up for you. Let this question be your guide: “What am I hungry for?” Be aware of your triggers and habits. The more you ask and listen to the answer the more satisfied your hunger and your body will become with your choices.
- Be ONE with your food: Once you have decided what you are going to eat, sit down with your food and take a minute to give thanks for it, and to acknowledge the food itself: its beauty, colors, aroma, and the artistry on your plate. Languish in your senses.
- Step away from the electronics: As you focus your attention on your food (avoid watching TV, working at your computer, standing while you eat, driving, etc. (please don’t drive and eat — it’s dangerous and you are robbing yourself of the experience of eating). Tap into what is happening inside your body. How are you feeling? Are you excited to eat – indulging in the ceremony of your food — or are you eating off schedule, more grab-and-go style? Create ritual with mealtime.
- SAVOR the sensation: As you take your first bite, notice the flavor and texture of the food. Engage your senses. How does it feel to chew this food? Do you enjoy it? Do your best throughout your meal to savor each bite and chew it thoroughly. Slow down. Mindfulness creates time for enjoyment – life is sweet, so savor it.
- Be Here Now: During your meal, keep checking in with your stomach to see how it’s doing. Take a pulse on what your belly is telling you. Often we eat more than we need to because our focus is on the quantity of what’s on our plate, or elsewhere altogether. Give yourself permission to leave food on the plate. See if you can eat to the point of contentment, not fullness. There is a sweet spot that exists right between the two. Try implementing this into your daily practice.
Bringing mindfulness to your plate on a daily basis will undeniably result in a heightened awareness of yourself and your relationship to your body. Eat well, be well – all is well.
In addition to her full-service nutrition practice, Lysa brings nutrition awareness to children in primary and secondary schools. Her passionate work in motion as Superfood Girl has created workshops to empower the youth of the world to make healthy choices from a young age.