Eating more mindfully can be the key catalyst that some people need in order to finally feel like they are nourishing their bodies through the food they eat.
However, mindful eating can feel really vague and kind of tricky to put into practice.
Here are 5 strategies that I use with my clients. I hope that they will help you to feel empowered in starting your own mindful eating practice, as well as clarify some of the confusion surrounding what "mindful eating" even is...
- Chew your food to mush
Eating slowly can be a really great first step when it comes to learning how to be more mindful around your nutrition. Not only does chewing your food to mush help you to really taste and savor the textures and flavors, but by eating more slowly you're giving your body time to listen to fullness cues and chewing your food well is wayyy better for your digestion.
And mamas, I promise I understand how hard this might feel sometimes! My advice when your baby or toddler needs you and you're hungry is to take a bite and chew it the best you can while helping them. It's not as "perfect" as sitting down while you eat, but taking a few bites and making an effort to chew slowly is definitely a better strategy than scarfing everything down without chewing or tasting your food!
- Eat without distractions
When we watch TV or look at our phones while we eat we aren't allowing our brains to process how much we are eating or even to really, truly enjoy our food. Eating while distracted is a recipe for poor digestion and over-consumption.
If you do need to eat while you work, or while you unwind in front of a show, be sure to portion your meal or snack appropriately - definitely don't bring the entire container or bag with you.
- You decide when and how much
You and only you get to decide when you eat and how much you eat. If you're not hungry, don't eat something just because everyone else is, and if someone says they made something *just for you* you still don't have to eat it. Not only this, but it is not your job to manage their emotions. You can absolutely be kind and respectful, but you don't need to worry so much if they are hurt.
And honestly, if a person is trying to peer pressure you into eating or drinking something after you've expressed politely that you don't want it, that person isn't really super cool.
- Imperfect consistency over perfect inconsistency
It is far more important what you do 95% of the time than the other 5%. Have what you want, when you want it. Trying to use willpower to be "perfect" all the time will do nothing but lead to being inconsistently perfect. This is not what we want! We want to aim for imperfection consistently so that we can feel 100% in our power and confident that we can live this way forever.
Being perfect with your nutrition and exercise six days of the week with an epic "cheat" day on the seventh day will do nothing but create disordered eating habits and lots of guilt around your nutrition. Instead, sprinkle in things you like every single day. Some dark chocolate one day, eating part of your burrito salad bowl in a tortilla another day, and dip your veggies in a little bit of sriracha mayo or another yummy condiment to make them taste delicious. Remember, you've gotta like what you eat. And aiming for imperfect consistency will create a lifestyle that feels effortless rather than one where you are always trying to get back on track.
- There's always more where that came from
You can make or buy whatever you want whenever you want it.As an adult human ;) you are in charge of your choices. Having a scarcity mindset that it'll be a while before you can eat a food again (if you're on that yo-yo diet cycle) or that you can only have certain foods at certain holidays (Thanksgiving food can be eaten year round, as can gingerbread and peppermint goodies at Christmas, pumpkin treats in the fall, and chocolate in the spring!) only sets you up for failure with moderation and balance. If you're always feeling like you "can't" have something then you will absolutely struggle with mindfulness. Instead, use mindfulness to remember that, in fact, you CAN eat whatever you want whenever you want it.
And if you're at a restaurant in a foreign country or your grandma made a special treat that only she knows how to make, then you need to use mindfulness to decide if something is truly "worth it". Does it taste good? Does it work with your body? Great, enjoy! Otherwise, it's not worth it.
These tools and way more are what I use to support my 1:1 and group coaching clients to achieve a lifestyle that feels absolutely effortless. Mindful eating is hard, and if you're feeling like you'd really love some more support I've got a couple of options for you! You can check them out by heading over to the Services tab.
Comments? Questions? Leave them below or send me an email.