The media constantly bombards us with conflicting nutrition “facts” that often make for difficult mealtime decisions. This information overload forces us to start asking, “What are my needs, and how can I meet them?” Unfortunately there is no one perfect diet because different factors come into play: age, gender, activity level, health status, etc. All these variables change the way our bodies need and use fuel.
However, there is one tool we all have in common – our minds. Mindful eating is paying attention to an eating experience with all your senses. It might sound silly, but if you take a little more time to listen to your body, you may feel less anxiety about what to eat. Read the following tips for mindful eating, and begin to let your body do the talking.
- Practice awareness. Your body will send you signals when you are hungry. Grumbling stomach, headache, irritability, sluggishness – these are all signs you may need to eat. Try tracking your intake and how you felt during that time. Eating on a regular schedule may increase your awareness.
- Make the healthy choice the easy choice. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Always keep a healthy snack on hand that you also enjoy. Choosing a food you don’t enjoy leaves you unsatisfied and may lead to overeating later in the day.
- Just breathe. Take a moment to appreciate your access to appetizing and nourishing food, and have gratitude for all that your body allows you to do.
- Focus. Don’t drive, work, watch TV, or stand at the fridge when you are eating – just eat. Doing another task often distracts from the signals your body is trying to send you, and you may end up overeating.
- Savor. Eating isn’t for taste alone. Smell the different aromas that each meal gives, notice the changes in textures, the array of color. Discover what it is you enjoy about each food besides its taste. Kitchens are often the gathering place of a home, and food a source of celebration.
- Be intentional. Take pause before, during, and after your meal to ask yourself, “Am I hungry, or pursuing food for another reason?” Stop eating before the complete feeling of fullness sets in.