Are you someone who has struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with food for some time? Are you someone who picks at food constantly throughout the day? Or are you someone who feels like every time they eat they end up feeling over full, bloated and yuck? Then this is a must-read for you – and everyone in fact!
Mindful eating – we’ve all heard about it, to many of us it would just seem like it’s some fad or obsession like kale or turmeric lattes. But in fact it isn’t. It is not a diet and it is not a trend. It’s a lifestyle.
Mindful eating is the act of being aware of the food you are eating, acknowledging different sensations to food and understanding cues of hunger and satiety.
It isn’t about just chewing your food 20 times each mouthful (although that may help!).
It is a combination of moderation, balance and enjoyment. Eating healthy isn’t about depriving ourselves of the foods we love, it’s about enjoying them in moderation (whether that be a piece of cake, chocolate, a glass of wine or a bowl of crispy hot chips), eating a variety of balanced nutritious foods, and preparing these foods in a way which you will ENJOY!
So what will mindful eating do for me you ask?
Well mindful eating allows us to build a healthy relationship with food. It helps remove the guilt from when we indulge a little too much, help us to identify when we really are hungry or full and how much we really need to eat, and allows us to let go of food rules we may have and become more flexible with food decisions.
- Reduced bloating and gastric reflux
- Potential weight loss if you have been overeating (by becoming more satiated with smaller amounts of food)
- Positive relationship with food – see each whole food as fuel to nourish your body
- Overcoming and managing an eating disorder
And like I said before, it’s not about chewing your food 20 times or giving up all junk food. There are many techniques and simple changes you canmake to your everyday life to eat more mindfully.
Here are 6 to get you going!
- Take 20 minutes to eat your meal: Place your cutlery down after every 2-3 mouthfuls and think about the flavours you taste and the textures of the dish. Make your senses do the work – we have them for a reason!
- Use smaller cutlery and crockery: This will take you longer to eat and more time to appreciate the food. Once finished, wait 20 minutes and see if you actually feel like more or are actually still hungry (this is how long it takes our gut to send signals to the brain).
- Don’t calorie or macro count: This will only set you up for guilt and feelings of failure. It can also lead to disorder eating patterns and illnesses. Aim to eat nourishing whole foods in a variety of colours each day in order to provide your body the goodness it needs.
- Enjoy your treat foods in moderation and take time to eat it: When you’re eating that piece of cake, sit down, savour the moment and make it last as long as you can. This will leave you feeling more satisfied and often not needing to go back for more.
- Listen to your body: Our hunger levels and energy needs change each day depending on what we’re doing. Listen to them and satiety cues to serve up more or less or eat more often if needed in order to nourish our bodies successfully.
- Reduce distractions and multitasking: Eating on the go, in the car, at your desk or in front of the TV is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t let us acknowledge and reflect on the food or respond to hormonal cues. This can lead to overeating or eating too fast, causing bloating and gastric reflux.
By eating more mindfully, you will also be able to become more mindful in your day to day life, reducing stress and radiating more positivity and content with yourself and the world around you. Happy (mindful) eating!
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR | CHRISTIE JOHNSON
I am an enthusiastic Nutritionist (soon to be Dietitian & Exercise Scientist) who lives and breathes all things food and fitness. I am also an Australian Age-group Triathlete, so I understand first hand the role nutrition and exercise plays in our lives. I believe in a holistic, individualised approach to health, and love helping people build their skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve their potential.
IG - @thefitnutkitchen