Eating mindfully is an extremely important habit. It is one of the ways to lose weight and keep it off long term. But do you do it?
Eating mindfully is not easy for many of us, especially with work, busy families, exercise routines, and all the other daily distractions.
In this post are some of the habits that I coach my clients through. If you’d like to know more about how coaching may help you lose the weight of menopause, then click here to request a discovery session with me.
To get you started here are seven simple ideas to help you establish more mindful eating habits, and perhaps begin to reconnect the body and mind again.
1. Tune in to your body’s signals
Rather than just eating on emotional cues (different for each of us, like sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness, stress or even just boredom) you can learn to tune into and be better listeners of your body’s actual hunger signals.
For example, is your stomach growling, is your energy low, are you feeling a little lightheaded, or even ‘hangry’?
2. Put food on a… plate!
Too obvious? Think about this: eating out of a bag is not a very mindful practice! So, get in the habit of placing even snacks on a plate before eating them. This helps you to take notice of exactly what and how much you’re actually eating.
Also, acknowledge the time, effort and passion you put into creating your meal - consider all the ingredients, and the preparation and intention involved in getting the food from pantry/fridge to plate!
3. Sit... at the table!
Now that you’re eating from a plate, continue “formalising” your gastronomic experience by always sitting at a table.
This helps to pull your attention back to your food and to your eating habits. It has also been shown to dramatically reduce overeating - especially for those who tend to eat in front of the TV.
4. Absolutely, positively NO devices at the table
Now that you’re sitting at a proper table, designating the first few minutes of a meal for quiet, mindful practice can be beneficial - for everyone at the table. This includes putting away the devices and turning off the TV.
5. Slooooow down and chew your food
Slowing down is one of the easiest, and most effective ways you can get our body and mind to coordinate in their signals of what you really need for nutritional purposes.
The body actually sends its “I’m full!” signal about 20 minutes after the brain - a little glitch in human physiology and also why it can be easy to overeat. But, if you slow down, you can give your body a chance to catch up to your brain, hear the signals properly, and eat the right amount.
Chewing more, and more slowly, is probably THE simplest and most effective way to begin developing the habit of eating mindfully.
6. Put down that fork!
Putting your fork down between bites of food reinforces your enhanced chewing habit, rather than mindlessly picking at your plate or preparing to shovel in your next bite. Yet another opportunity to really taste your food!
7. Make it more difficult to feed yourself
Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to a more intentional act of eating - you can apply this to many areas of your life!
One way to up the challenge is to eat with your non-dominant hand. For 90% of us, that’s our left hand. While this may seem tedious to do at every meal, try it for breakfast or maybe just at snack time - or maybe at a dinner with friends for some entertainment value!
So, there you have it - seven super easy, but actionable ways you can start practicing mindfulness, especially when you’re eating. Your whole body will benefit from simply slowing down, and being more intentional and present while eating.
If you try and stick with these ideas you’ll lose that menopausal weight and become leaner too! I promise! It takes time but it can be done!
And if this all sounds like a great idea but you have no idea how you’ll do it alone, then I am here to help. Just click the button below to request a discovery session. It’s FREE, and you’ll come away with clarity and a strategy for moving forward.
Click below to listen to a podcast episode I was interviewed for, about building resilience and my journey to being a Health Coach