Tapping into your inner health expert: 3 Strategies for healthy eating that focus on mindfulness rather than diet
The theme “Journey Home” is one that comes up often in my work as a nutrition coach. Many people come to see me because they feel that they “should” be eating “healthier,” but are not sure how to do so. When I first began this work, I was excited to help people “fix” their diets. Years later, I now have a different perspective. I am more excited to help people understand what their body is asking for – what foods help them feel their best and which ones they could use less of. It is a key element in learning how to eat well. The process is a journey that I like to think brings the person “home” to themselves. In a very basic sense, it brings them to listening to their gut feeling, and acting from that core place instead of just eating whatever some health “expert” suggests to them. In fact, it helps empower people to be their own inner “health expert.” If you are curious how to begin this journey, keep reading!
There are many tools we can use to help us connect to our inner health expert. Here are the most powerful that I have come across in my work and in my own personal experience.
- PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING. When we give our awareness to the food we are eating, we create more of a connection with our food and tend to want foods that are more nourishing. We are more in tune with what feels good to chew, swallow and digest.
- CHECK IN AND LISTEN. This is a form of mindful eating but focuses on just taking a moment to check in with yourself throughout the day to ask the following questions:
- Am I thirsty, hungry, or both – and if I am hungry, what am I hungry for?
- While you are eating, check in and ask, “Have I had enough? Am I content now?” I like to stop eating at the point of contentment, but not maximum capacity.
- After a meal, ask yourself, “How do I feel? Do I feel energized or tired?” If you feel like taking a nap, most likely that food is not for you (unless you did not sleep the night before).
- KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL. Track when and what you are eating and how you feel afterwards. If done with an open and curious mind, it can provide you with valuable insights, including which foods help you feel like a rock star and which make you feel like a slug. Journaling also helps you figure out if you are eating consistently throughout the day, if you tend to skip meals, and if there are patterns to how certain foods affect you.
Ready to start your journey? Begin with simply listening to what your body has to say. We all know how good it feels to be listened to. Listen, and learn what wisdom your body has to share with you!