If you were to ask me for one piece of advice it would be to practice mindfulness and more importantly, mindful eating.
What does being mindful even mean?
Mindfulness describes practices that involve bringing all your awareness to the here and now. To me, eating mindfully means slowing down, expressing gratitude for the food we are eating, being satisfied with food, and paying attention to why we eat. If you get into the habit of mindful eating it will help steer you away from having unhealthy relationships with food, and I think you will find that it heightens the pleasure of the overall experience.
Most of us tend to speed through our meals, shoveling food in without even really chewing it or appreciating the flavors. Others watch TV, read, or skim through Instagram (I’m guilty of this!) while they eat, which again takes the attention away from their food. This of course often leads to overeating and, ultimately, being overweight.
Another part of mindful eating is being aware of how your body is feeling, and making sure to eat and drink foods that are going to nourish it, rather than deplete it.
Stress levels and a proper diet are also closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.
For instance, have you ever had one of those days where you’re tired, so you drink a couple cups of coffee, and then you’re stressed at work, so you eat a bag of chips at your desk for lunch, and then you go out that night and drink a few too many margaritas. Pretty soon the day is over and you realize you haven’t eaten one thing that your body NEEDED.
When we take a few minutes before we eat to pause and see what it is that our body is telling us, we’re able to give it exactly what it needs. Feeling tired? Grab a handful of almonds, or some coconut yogurt topped with banana and chia seeds. Suffering from brain fog in the afternoons? Try adding avocado to your lunch or midday snack. Being mindful before you eat will not only lead to you gaining a better perspective with your body, but you will also begin to crowd out ‘bad foods’ with healthier, more nourishing, options.
My challenge to you today is to focus on breaking the habit of eating mindlessly. Before you eat, take a minute to check-in with your body to see what it may be needing, and while you’re eating be sure to give your food your full attention by chewing slower and fully experiencing the smell, taste, and texture of your food.