Mindful eating—paying attention to the food you put in your body—can become difficult at times. Distractions, special occasions, or changes in routine can throw you off course. These few mindful eating tips may help you keep true to your practice.
During the holidays, our normal routines get pushed to the side for a few days to focus on spending time with family and friends that came down to visit us. Once the guests leave, getting back into our mindful eating practice is challenging.
As beginners, we are still working on making this way of life a habit. But it’s well worth the trouble. Research shows, mindful eating skills—like paying close attention to our bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor food—can help change unhealthy eating patterns and lose weight.
Mindful Eating vs. Intuitive Eating
This has been the first year that our visitors have had the experience of meeting our chickens. Consistently, the question came up regarding how we can own chickens and still be able to eat chicken meat without feeling tremendous personal conflict.
I realized, there is another aspect to our practice that needed attention. Guilt.
An intuitive eater is defined as a person who “makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”
Although conscious eating and mindful eating are sometimes used interchangeably, intuitive eating is an older concept that sometimes uses mindful eating practices.
Choosing when, where and how much to eat (sometimes daunting tasks) can become less stressful as you transition away from habitual ways of thinking about eating. Both mindful and intuitive eating are great practices to improve your relationship with food and build healthier eating habits.
3 Mindful Eating Tips
Here are a few tips we are going to try to get us back on track:
1) Challenge: Distractions
TIP: Looking at our phones or television while eating distracts from paying attention to our food are common distractions. Transition to sitting outside and watching things around us while eating. That will help ease the change to simply focusing on the experience we are having with our food.
2) Challenge: Eating too fast
TIP: Track your food with a journal to help with not taking the time to pay attention to the moment of eating. Pausing to note your food experience helps with slowing down and remembering the details.
3) Challenge: Difficulty picking the right food
TIP: Select foods with depth and balance. Food balancing sweet, spicy, and tart, that can give you a complete experience in a bowl. Examples include chili or curry sauces. Also, add water during meals instead of waiting until the end to enhance the experience.
Have you started a mindful eating practice? If not, why not start now? There’s nothing to lose – except for weight and guilt. You might be surprised by the things you learn about yourself on this journey.
Are there other mindful eating tips you want to share? Use the comment section below to share the wisdom!
Crystal Gibson is a wife and mother of two from Cleveland, Ohio whose interest in women’s empowerment comes from her personal experiences, raising her daughter and navigating corporate America for over a decade. She is passionate about simple living, mindfulness & meditation, gratitude, and raising strong daughters. Her goal is to write about these ideas to help women and girls with their journey – figuring out who they are and what they represent to the world. When she is not writing, she can be found gardening, crafting and spending time with her family.