Mindful Eating is defined by the Center for Mindful Eating as "Mindfulness is the capacity to bring full attention and awareness to one’s experience, in the moment, without judgment. Mindful Eating brings mindfulness to food choice and the experience of eating." Did you catch that? Without Judgment!!!
I am a big proponent of learning to listen to our bodies and of being loving and kind to our selves and I believe that out of this self love we will take better care of ourselves. One of the biggest stumbling blocks can be shame and guilt related to eating. Learning Mindful Eating can help battle food guilt and be kind to ourselves.
"In my food world there is no fear of guilt, only Joy and balance" - Ellie Krieger
On your wellness journey make a choice to have a habit of including more nutritionally dense foods like whole food, plant based foods into your lifestyle. You will find that the more you eat nutritionally dense foods the more you will long for them and you may feel better too! But don't make this be a stumbling block to enjoying your food.
Make room for treats too, enjoy them guilt free. Remind yourself that this isn't how you always eat and that you are having a treat, then truly enjoy it. It is about balance and freedom. The Dr. Sears Wellness Institute calls the Red foods, like the stop light. It doesn't mean you can't have it, you just stop and think about it and enjoy Red Light foods occasionally. The key word "Enjoy" - no guilt, just enjoy it!
When you eat ask yourself:
How does it smell? What do I smell?
How does it look? Is it pretty or creative?
Does it bring back memories? Does it make me feel any certain emotion? Why?
Am I actually hunger at the moment? Would I like to eat now or is later better?
Is my brain in a battle over the should's and should not's? Do I feel guilt? Can I give myself permission to let it go?
These are some of the things we consider in Mindful Eating, allowing our senses to fully soak in the experience.
Learning to Eat Mindfully:
Helps you learn to listen to your body's cues. Hunger, thirst, tired, anxious etc.
Helps us slow down when we eat
Helps create gratitude for our meals
Helps us recognize how we feel in response to our meal
Helps us eat in moderation - not too much and not too little
Can give us the permission to enjoy our food without guilt or shame
We feel guilt or shame over our food choices because we have been taught that a certain food is "good" or "Bad". Our goal is to eat foods that nourish our bodies, because they are full of nutrients that our cells need and we want to properly fuel our bodies. Often this goal becomes imbalanced making us slaves to the current trend, a current diet, the voices of others, and our own judgement.
You know what?? Food tastes good! It looks good too! We watch all of those cooking shows on TV because it looks good and we can imagine it taste good (Eye and Mind Hunger) and then we put effort into the meals we make because we want them to look good and taste good. It's good!!
So enjoy it!
Exercise: At your next meal pause...look at the food, is it "Insta worthy"? Then smell it and ask yourself what do you smell? Take one bite and ask yourself what do you taste and how does it feel? Can you identify the spices? Then swallow and think about what your cells are thinking and how it makes you feel. You can think about where the ingredients came from too, let your mind ponder the food.
If you feel yourself feeling guilty say "5,4,3,2,1 I am practicing balance and joy"! (If you haven't read the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins I highly recommend it). Psst - say this out loud!!
If you struggle with food guilt try using Mindful Eating as a tool to battle it and learn to be loving to yourself, forgiving with yourself, and less judgmental of yourself. Give yourself room for joy and balance.
How did it go? If you struggled, no worries, you have many more meals to practice!
To learn more read Prinicples of Mindful Eating
Note: This is for the general public, if you struggle with eating disfunction of any sort following the advice in anyone's blog or post, including mine, could be more of a struggle for you and lead you to an unhealthy place. If you need help with an eating disorder please reach out the the National Eating Disorders Association.
*This blog is for education and entertainment and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms or to be considered as medical advice.
Let me know how your Mindful practice is going! Comment on this post.
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