You’ve probably heard a lot about mindful eating and intuitive eating. These techniques are basically the “anti-diet” and center around strategies for improving your relationship with food to release you from the restrictive world of diets. I focus a great deal on mindful eating strategies in my coaching programs, but it’s not just about being mindful with the actual act of eating. Let’s dive into mindfulness a bit more and some different ways that we can all change our thoughts and behaviors around food.
Mindful of your body’s hunger and fullness cues
Assess how hungry you are before a meal, and how full you are after a meal. Our bodies really do talk to us – that belly ache, the lack of energy – there’s something going on that your body wants you to address. Learning to listen to your body is essential not just for knowing how much to eat and when, but for improving your relationship with your body by respecting what it needs.
2. Mindful when grocery shopping/selecting products
This is related to both having a plan when you walk into the grocery store or market, and also to being aware of ingredients/quality of the products you are buying. It is important to become comfortable with reading ingredients on labels to become a more aware consumer. Those “healthy” foods may not be so healthy if they contain hidden fillers, sugars, and other additives. This also relates to purchasing organic vs. conventional, sustainably sourced vs. farmed, etc. Being an informed consumer is essential to supporting your health through food. Let’s start looking at food not as calories, points, red or green, or something that is going to either make us gain weight or lose weight. Food is your body’s life source, and we should take care and be mindful about what we fuel our bodies with.
3. Mindful when preparing the food
This is taking the time to truly enjoy preparing the food that you mindfully selected. This doesn’t mean you have to be cooking some fancy meal, it could be a simple compilation of items, like a whole grain + beans + roasted veggies, but that you are being mindful of creating a balanced meal that is supportive for your health needs. This is also about appreciating yourself for devoting this time to doing something that is going to support your health, and seeing cooking as an integral component of your health plan, rather than as a chore you don’t have the time or energy for.
4. Mindful while eating
Sitting down at the table with your portioned meal, without distractions. If you are sitting in front of the TV or doing work on your computer while you’re eating, you are not going to be paying attention to how you feel and when you are full, which often leads to overeating. This one is not only about eating a proper portion, though, but also about truly enjoying your food. Now that you’ve put the mindfulness into purchasing the food and then cooking it, you should be truly enjoying what you’ve created! Appreciate the food for what it is and how it is going to make your body feel. Which brings me to the final point below…
5. Mindful about what you actually like!
Don’t choose to eat something just because you think it’s the “right” thing to do, or the “healthy” thing to do. That’s restriction and not being mindful to what you actually want! Success is only going to come from implementing sustainable actions into your lifestyle. It is not sustainable to eat foods that you do not like without paying any mind to why you are actually eating those foods. And, most of the foods you truly enjoy can be prepared in health supportive and delicious ways, which is what ChefGirl, RD is all about!
So, let’s all take these steps to start becoming more mindful of how we feel, what our bodies need, and what we like.
If you want to support your health with these mindful eating strategies, click this button to schedule a free consultation to learn more about my coaching programs and how we can design a plan tailored just for you!