What is Mindful Eating?
Simply put, mindful eating is the practice of eating consciously. It is the act of being aware of your physical, mental, and emotional needs in terms of eating. The Center for Mindful Eating also describes it as “allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom. “ Most importantly, mindful eating is built on the foundation that you have the ability to make the best food decisions unique to you.
How is mindful eating different than a fad diet?
Fad diets encourage us to distrust our ability to make food decisions for ourselves. The strict rules set by fad diets persuade us that the decisions we make on our own are wrong, reducing our confidence in making food decisions. Their strict rules also deprive our body of important nutrients, strengthening our cravings and making it more likely to break said rules. Each time we break a rule, another blow hits our self-esteem, making it even harder to trust our ability to adopt healthy habits.
Mindful eating gives you the power to make the best decisions for yourself. It teaches you to
Mindful eating teaches you…
- How to listen to your physical hunger and satiety signals
- To acknowledge your natural responses to food with judgement (i.e. likes, dislikes)
- How to make choices to nurture your health and well being
- How to use all your senses to choose foods that both satisfy and nourish your body
Why is mindful eating beneficial?
I’ve heard friends say over and over again that the only time they crave “junk” food is when they are dieting. Believe it or not, this is normal! Cravings are caused by nutrient deprivation. They are your bodies natural request for getting the nutrients you need. I’ve also heard many friends say (and I agree with it myself), that it is so much easier to eat healthy when you are in tune to your bodies needs.
When I started eating intuitively, my cravings for “junk” food decreased significantly. That was because I allowed myself to enjoy my favorite foods without restriction. This allowance actually resulted in me eating less of these foods. Crazy how that happens, right?
I also become so much more in tune to nutrient-dense foods that my body needed. I no longer eat salads because they “help me lose weight”, but now enjoy salads because I eat them when my body wants something refreshing.
Time and time again my friends tell me stories about how mindfulness balanced out their weight. Whether you are struggling to lose weight or struggling to gain weight, being in tune to what your body is telling you may help you with those issues more than any diet can. I even talk about my own story on my blog here.
What can you do to eat mindfully?
There are so many things you can do to eat more mindfully! That is why I’m kickstarting a weekly Newsletter called the Mindful Monday Challenge. Each week you will receive a new practice for that week to improve your eating habits.
If you’d like to do even more reading on mindful eating, click here.
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