It’s everywhere in our lives, isn’t it? Food is essential for life and health, but it’s also used for purposes other than nutrition.
Perhaps you’ve seen this quote floating around the internet. Food is used for everything from celebrating, comforting, helping our emotions, and perhaps even feeding deeper things in us that we are unaware of, like coping with life.
There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at some point, eaten, without the need of hunger. There isn’t anything necessarily “wrong” with it… I mean come on… when we have room for chocolate cake after a meal… we aren’t hungry, are we? And I usually won’t turn it down… 😉
For any of us on a health and wellness journey, eating mindfully is crucial to long term success.
What does eating mindfully mean?
Let’s look at it like this… have you ever been in the kitchen and found yourself mindlessly shoving something in your mouth ? Are really thinking about it? You might have seen it and thought… “oh this…” you might not even really taste it in the full sense of tasting. You’re checked out thinking about the laundry, or tomorrows to-do list.
You can put yourself in whatever scenario…there are times we are shoveling food in our faces without a purpose and well, quite mindlessly.
Or, we could feel stressed and emotionally strung out. A hard day. Kids making us nuts. Aging parents. Job that takes a toll on you.
We find comfort in our favorite food.
Trust me… I get it.
I think one of THE biggest things that clicked to me a few years ago was recognizing I often would reach for food, and not good stuff, and realize I was emotionally eating. I also understood I had seen it modeled in front of me my entire life in my family. To identify (emotional eating) helped keep me aware of that weak area in me.
I remember one evening, after a rough day with one of the kids, my husband walked in the kitchen where I happened to be shoveling BBQ chips in my mouth.
I told him… “I want you to know, I’m fully aware that I’m emotionally eating right now!” Now that is kinda funny… but for me… saying it out loud and seeing it…gave me some power. ( I didn’t eat the bag… I really had a couple handfuls and put them away… I started thinking of what I was doing)
As I’ve moved along, I have become more aware of eating mindfully. I think for a lot of people, that is a key element missing in their quest to lose weight and get fit.
What does that mean? or look like?
Think about what you’re eating.
Are you hungry? Do you need it ?
If you are (hungry) learn to eat slowly and savor what you are eating. The slower you eat the more satisfied you’ll feel.
Think about your meals… what do you need? Plan tasty and healthy options that you enjoy.
Be aware of how much you eat. The majority of people greatly over estimate portion sizes often eating two-three servings. These extra calories in a day all add up to weight gain.
Think about your snacks. Be mindful of how they support your goals of losing weight and getting healthy.
One example for me is, walking into a gas station. I went in to grab a bottle of water the other day and looking around I thought “there is almost nothing in here I should eat”.
I’ve become “mindful” of my eating habits. It’s a good change to make. I’ve learned to look at foods and mindfully determine if it’s what I need.
I’m mindful when I make food selections and portions.
Gaining control in our lives with food will require intentional thinking and readjusting of habits ( in the beginning) in time though, being mindful of how you eat, why, and what, will all be new healthy habits for you =)