The word 'mindful' is used, perhaps a little too much these days. To many, it can suggest someone sipping green juice while wearing all white, on a beach, doing a headstand & meditating....
But what actually is it? Is it even a good thing to practice? And how can you easily benefit from being 'mindful'?
I realised how much I was living on autopilot when one day, I was working on my laptop, looked down and had eaten an entire bar of chocolate. Without even realising it. It was it had disappeared like magic!
It is quite funny, but when these behaviours start to trickle into our everyday lives, it can have a negative affect to both our mental and physical health, and even the planet.
Mindful eating is an "approach to food that focuses on being fully present while you’re eating." - BDA 2020 1
How you can eat more mindfully;
1. Plan ahead and stick to regular meal times
Make a plan of your meals and snacks for the week. This will help to avoid 'decision fatigue', avoid food waste and even save you money in the long run as you won't be tempted by deals, offers and impulse purchases when shopping for food. Also, consider eating at regular times throughout the day. This helps to regulate your levels of hunger which could impact positively on your eating behaviours and food choices.
2. Make your meals from scratch and enjoy each mouthful
Even if it is a slice of toast. Can you plan to make a loaf of bread every Sunday? Or make a tradition of going to the farmers' market every Sunday and connect with the baker? Take time to connect with your food and recognise the aroma, flavour, taste and texture of your meals. This will help you enjoy your eating experience and even helps your body to absorb the nutrients even more.
3. Eat food for fuel and nourishment
We are not typically taught about nutrition and how food affects our mental and physical health. Take a course, read a nutrition book or book an appointment with a health professional to learn how to choose foods that will give you energy and are nourishing for your body.
4. Avoid labelling foods
All types of food can play a part in a healthy and varied diet. Instead of focusing on what foods are “good” or “bad”, focus on achieving a variety of different foods that provide satisfaction, enjoyment, and nourishment. Our environment and mental health can have a huge impact on how our bodies absorb the nutrients from foods. Drinking a green smoothie when you're stressed and miserable can be pretty pointless and even can create toxicity in the body, so focus on choosing foods that you love and creating joy at meal times.
5. Respect your own inner wisdom
We are all unique and are nourished by different things. Gift yourself the time to get to know yourself, build a relationship with your own body and learn exactly what it needs. I do this through yoga every morning, even just for 10 minutes. It gives me the chance to notice each part of my body and tune into how it's feeling at that moment in time. It also helps me to connect with my feelings of physical hunger, and satiety cues to guide my decisions of when to begin and end eating.
I hope these tips help you to live a life filled with more energy and enjoyment. As I always like to say, our days create our months, our months create our years, and our years create our lives. So start filling your days with healthy habits and joyous activities and see how your life can change for the better.
If you have tips on how to eat more mindfully, I would love to hear in the comments section below!