Once more, mindfulness is being totally present and in the moment and avoiding judgment. So how do we connect our increased practice with mindfulness to our eating behaviors and attitude to food?
Sadly, we let our lives become so busy that things become automatic, even some of the things we should devote more of our focus and energy toward. Eating is one of them. Even if a person doesn’t have issues with overeating, it has been proven that being mindful to our food and digestion when we eat is much healthier for us.
If we teach ourselves to eat mindfully, we give ourselves the opportunity to examine what we think and how we feel which in turn affects the way we eat or don’t eat. If we can gain an understanding of this process (which is entirely unique for each one of us and is subject to change at any given time), it only stands to reason, we are that much ahead of the game at being able to better manage things we don’t believe to be in our best interest.
If I ask you what you ate today before noon and you were honest with your response, odds are it is the same thing you ate yesterday or the day before. We tend to eat habitually, many times, the same thing each and every day. This habitual eating gets us stuck in a routine that we may not even be aware we are in.
How about if I asked you what your last meal smelled like or what the texture of the main ingredient in your last dinner felt like? It is more than likely you would have to think about it now and this would be the first and only time you will have given it this type of attention. When we eat mindfully, we experience each bite of the food we eat. Try it!
What about the percentage of your attention and focus that went into your last meal or snack? Were you in texting someone while munching on your salad? What about your last snack? Were you reading something that took up much of your focus? If you want to eat mindfully, you will need to just eat when you eat.
Do you pay attention to how hungry you are before and while you eat? If you set yourself up some type of internal scale with which to measure your degree of hunger during your meal, you can reconnect with when you have had enough to eat to satisfy your hunger and avoid overeating (or at least have a better chance at avoiding it).
Something mindfulness has been super effective at teaching me is that a thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling. Neither are facts. If you eat mindfully, you also will be more aware of the thoughts and feelings you experience while you eat and be more able to avoid incorrect thinking that could negatively affect how much or the type of foods you choose.
Practicing the mindfulness eating connection routinely and effectively can be one of the most powerful tools in your weight loss or healthy weight maintenance toolkit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!