Mindless eating happens when you are busy, distracted, stressed, in a hurry, sad, angry, impatient, lonely, happy, and when food just happens to be around. These are just a few of the circumstances when we reach for food (any food), eat more than your body needs, and then feel depleted afterward. Mindless eating almost inevitably ends up with negative consequences instead of positive results.
Mindful eating, on the other hand, helps you be more aware of why you are starting to eat, what your body wants to eat, how much your body wants, how delicious the food is (or isn’t), and how it feels in your body after you’re done eating. It involves using all of your senses before, during, and after the eating experience.
In addition to having a more pleasurable experience every time you sit down to eat, mindful eating can re-energize you so you fully show up for your life all day and night. Take advantage of the five tips below to keep your body running like a powerful, efficient machine.
- Use the BASICS of mindful eating. For a quick tutorial on the BASICS, go to this interview by Newsy. This is your “go to” guide for mindful eating.
- Ask your body (not your mind). Did you know that you will get a different answer if you ask your body or you ask your mind what and how much it wants to eat? Your mind is constructed to look for constant pleasure; your body responds to food that gives it health and wellbeing. Your body has deep inherent wisdom about what it needs to be fueled and what will make it run out of steam. Listen and let the body rule! If you could hear your body talking, what do you think it would say?
- Make healthy eating the easy choice. Let’s be clear. There are a whole lotta’ bad choices out there every time you turn around and you make about 200 food decisions a day. Make healthier, whole, unprocessed food the easy choice by having it handy. This takes some effort and planning on your part. At the beginning of the day, take a moment to reflect on what your choices will be and, if you need to, carry some food with you to fill in the times when a good choice won’t be available.
- Eat to energize and please your taste buds, not to fill a hole in your heart. You can absolutely have what you want to eat and I don’t believe in forbidden foods. But, learn what foods energize and please your taste buds. Once you have had the experience of tasty, whole, healthy foods there is rarely a reason to eat anything else. When you’re reaching for the junk food, it’s usually to fill a hole in your heart (and maybe a lack of time and imagination) but your body will always suffer as a result.
- Be grateful. When we pause to say “thank you” we begin to reflect on what we’re doing more consciously. Be grateful for the sun, the rain, the farmer, and the fact that you have to access food that is good for you. Be grateful for the body that functions in amazing ways every time you eat so that you get the nutrition and the energy you need. Is the food you are about to eat something that you can be grateful for in this way?
If you want a little help with the gratitude part, listen to my gratitude meditation. Every morning is a good time to thank the body for waking up and helping you have another day. Don’t take it for granted. Give the body what it needs and it will give you the same.
Enjoy every moment! Savor every bite!