The Act of Mindful Eating
Have you ever stopped mid-bite and had a sudden moment of clarity? I was halfway through some delicious frozen yogurt when the thought occurred to me that I wasn’t even enjoying it… Not that it wasn’t good, but I was acutely aware that I had eaten half the bowl without spending a single moment to savor the experience, or more interestingly, contemplate what brought me to shoveling it in my mouth in the first place.
I took a moment to reset, putting down the spoon and reflecting on the fact that I was eating Raspberry Frozen Yogurt. Then, I started taking smaller, slower bites. As I actively attempted to enjoy my food, I asked myself something important:
“Why am I eating this?”
I’m Gabrielle with SlimGenics, your friendly Social Media Manager by day and fellow human on-a-mission to improve my health. Come join me on my journey and let’s have a chat about mindful eating today.
Intention is Action
Part of establishing new and healthier behaviors with food is truly understanding our relationship with it. For many individuals who are overweight, there is often a lack of education on proper nutrition and the principles behind fueling our bodies effectively. This leads directly to food becoming a subconscious desire as opposed to a conscious decision.
Those with an improper understanding of how to eat healthy often lack the tools and awareness needed to make the best decisions for their bodies. In order to combat this, a huge tenet of our SlimGenics Weight Loss Programs is providing clients with a comprehensive nutritional education as well as encouraging them to journal all their foods. Journaling is a deeply effective way for individuals to consciously review and assess their food choices. Through this, we can determine patterns and potential outside factors that influence our habits.
Did a stressful event occur before you ate something unhealthy? Let’s break down why that store-bought smoothie is full of sugar. Where were you when you had that cheeseburger? Who were you with? Why is mindless eating so easy to do while watching Netflix? All of these things should be examined so that you can make a conscious plan for what to do if those situations present themselves again. By practicing thoughtful reflection, you’ll find that your food decisions will become more healthy and you’ll become much more capable of handling these sticky situations.
Taking the Time
We’re busy, with life, work, friends, family… You name it. The average person works 3 hours or more above the standard workweek of a decade ago. With the demands of modern society, we’ve become champions at multitasking in order to accomplish more. Or have we?
Recent studies show that multitasking makes us 40% more inefficient than focusing on a single task. Let’s face it, the human brain isn’t designed to focus on 10 things at once. Yes, it can switch between tasks very well, but the brain doesn’t consciously continue to think about another task while doing the current one. So, all of the time we spend trying to accomplish multiple things at once is simply expending more energy with very little additional reward.
We’ve already discussed that proper nutrition should be a conscious decision based on education and understanding. Now, imagine the typically overweight individual who eats while writing emails or driving and talking on the phone. Between all of these different activities, your food is receiving very little thought or true enjoyment. In the midst of multi-tasking, food easily becomes an overindulgence or a satisfying sensation that encourages poor choices.
Instead of fitting food into your day, make the day fit around your food. Take the time to enjoy each meal. Not only will you enjoy it more and feel more positive about it, but you’ll dramatically improve your efficiency. Give your brain a rest from multi-tasking and just enjoy the moment. Appreciate the beautiful meals you’ve created so that you’ll want to make more like it. When you’re finished eating, getting back to the action will be a welcome change of pace from the relaxing experience you’ve just had. Make food a positive, productive and enjoyable aspect of your life as opposed to a negative one that continues to compound into worsening health.
Get to Know Yourself
One of the hardest and the MOST rewarding things we can do is understand ourselves. Instead of leaning away from the things we find difficult or the things we have trouble understanding, embrace them. When I was younger, I can remember not wanting to even look in the mirror because I had acne scars that I thought people would judge me for.
Years later, I realized the negative perception I had about my skin actually had nothing to do with my skin and everything to do with mass media making me feel like garbage, just for being a normal human being. Every negative experience is a chance to institute positive change in your life and be kind to yourself. I look in the mirror as an adult and see a strong, beautiful face staring back and no scar will ever change that. I’ve invested a lot of time into understanding my skin and the science behind it, so I am far more equipped to deal with any problem concerning it. As an adult, I make better choices for my body and consciously take the time to see what I can do to keep improving. That and being kind to myself are the two most important things that I have ever done for my body.
Struggling with your weight is nothing to feel badly about. The American diet and the stress of life impacts us all. Our reaction to it and having a healthy mindset is what matters the most. So, when a moment of clarity comes mid-frozen yogurt, lean into it. Am I making an informed choice? Do I enjoy what I am eating? Could I be approaching this better? Why am I eating this?
The answer is: I had a stressful day and a healthy Greek frozen yogurt was my treat to myself. In the future, I will focus on not rewarding myself with food but I have no regrets about that frozen yogurt. It was awesome. (And On-Plan).