There is so much buzz about mindfulness and mindful eating lately… and most of it for good reasons! Eating mindfully requires attention but is so very rewarding both in terms of weight loss, and appreciation of your food. As you connect with yourself you can completely transform how you relate to food, binge eating drops away and you are left with a clearer, happier mind and body.
When it comes to mindful eating here are 5 easy to follow and practical guidelines to make it super simple. I have worked with these guidelines for years and initially I just used the first four (created by Paul McKenna). However number five really makes it all come together in a beautiful way.
Ready to get mindful?
1) Eat when you are hungry
This sounds simple but often is a difficult one for people to grasp. I often see clients who will never let themselves be hungry. The uncomfortable feeling of even slight hunger is not tolerable and so they never let themselves get there.
When you are following this mindful guideline you are cultivating awareness of your body. “Am I really hungry?” “Am I mistaking thirst for hunger?” are great questions to ask as you grow your awareness. If your answer is “I am hungry” then EAT!
2) Eat whatever you want
Whhaaaaat? I hear you say! There are no forbidden foods when it comes to mindful eating, you can eat whatever makes you happy. This is because we are seeking satisfaction and a greater understanding of what that means to you. When you eat for your pleasure you change the dynamics of your relationship with food for the better.
SO, you can eat whatever you want, as long as you follow the other mindful eating guidelines.
3) Eat with awareness, slowly and ENJOY every mouthful
This rule seems easy…. eat SLOWLY and really taste and enjoy your food. The textures, flavours, juices, where it hits your tongue, the crunch, take a note of all of those aspects of your food.
When you eat slowly, your stomach has enough time to send a signal to the brain and the rest of your body that you are “full” and to stop eating. Slow eating allows you to appreciate all of the flavours and textures of the food, helping you decide what foods you really enjoy and which you can pass up. Putting down your utensils between bites is a practical way of slowing how you eat down.
4) STOP when you are full
Knowing when you are truly “full” may be difficult for many people. We often grow up as card carrying members of the ‘clean your plate club’. Perhaps you remember being cajoled (or forced) into eating the whole plate of food? Or being told ‘three more mouthfuls’ when you pushed that plate away feeling full. Maybe it is “saving room for dessert” that gets you in trouble! When you listen to your body’s messages we can give up this mindset and only eat until that full feeling occurs. Then regardless of what is left on your plate, push it away.
The more you cultivate awareness and connection with your body the more it will reward you. So start listening!
5) Cultivate gratitude towards your food
When you have an attitude of gratitude towards food you very quickly transform what food means to you. Sometimes we use food as a way of pushing down or away uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. Sometimes food is a guilty pleasure or a temptation we cannot escape. Gratitude transforms these emotional connections and clears it up in ways I never thought possible….
One of the ways I cultivate gratitude is simply saying thank you in my head as I take each bite.
Another way is to affirm your gratitude by saying before a meal “This is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now and I am thankful.”
The practice of gratitude add so much… it’s like an extra spice.
Enjoy our mindful eating.
Until next time!
P.S. Coaching sessions for weight loss and mindful eating include hypnotherapy, NLP, mindfulness, trauma release, breath-work and more. For more details or to make a booking please send me a message here.