Mindfulness, Not Mindlessness

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It’s fair to say we live busy lives. We go from one thing to the next – whether it’s our jobs, relationships, children, houses, finances… the list goes on! Being mindful in the way we live, interact with people and food can be a way of dealing with all that life stress that just seems to build up.

Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means to think and reflect on how you are feeling in the present moment, without any judgement. So – it’s consciously thinking about what you are doing, while you’re doing an activity, and not judging yourself for doing it. The no judgement part is actually quite important; your own negative self-talk can be overwhelming and harsh. But accepting your thoughts, actions and feelings mindfully can actually help build up more positive self-talk, and create a healthier mind-set!

Mindful Eating?

Is exactly as above, but add in the food. Mindful eating is where you take into account the tastes, textures, spices of the food you are eating, but at the same time; feeling your fullness and responding to it. But a key point of mindful eating to remember is: you are enjoying your food. Are you still feeling a little hungry? Then eat more. Are you feeling full and there is still food on your plate? Put it aside and use it as leftovers. Think while you are eating about what you are eating, and don’t judge yourself because that bit of brownie tasted good (surprise surprise).

Although the above can sound like an obviously easy task, very few of us actually do it. We are distracted while we eat – sometimes it’s the TV, our phones, scribbling work notes on paper, or the endless tasks bottling in our heads, and we aren’t actually listening to our bodies or how they are responding to food. Check out below some tips on how to start listening to your body more, and becoming more in tune with your eating.

  1. Sit down while you eat

It’s a fairly obvious one, but we are all culprit to it. Waking and eating will probably give you indigestion and won’t give you the chance to think about what you’re eating. I understand sometimes things get busy, but you should be enjoying your food majority of the time – walking and eating does not provide this!

  1. Savour your food

Did you know it takes our brain around about 20 minutes to realise we are satisfied and full? Eating too quickly prevents us from enjoying and tasting our food, and can cause you to overeat and feel guiltier (creating a pretty terrible cycle of eat-binge-guilt repeat). Chew your food well, think about your food while you are eating it, and give a moment for you food to digest before reaching for the next piece. If you realise you are still hungry, cool, go for it. But practice asking yourself that question: Am I still hungry, or am I trying to distract myself for any what reason?

  1. Minimise your distractions

Eating at the table with no TV on and not scrolling through social media is the best option. It means you can properly listen to your hunger, and enjoy the food in front of you. Eating with distraction can cause overeating and less food enjoyment (which again, can cause more overeating).

  1. Think about why you’re eating?

Challenge yourself as to why you’re eating. We often use food as a coping mechanism to mask feelings of tiredness, boredom, anger, sadness, loneliness, or depression. Address that feeling, rather than trying to nourish it with food, because that that only ever works for a short period of time. If you do question your hunger, go for a quick walk or tidy your room to clear your head. 10 minutes later are you still hungry? Cool, your hunger signals are working and you probably do need to eat.

 

Remember: Mindful eating is NOT a diet, and should not be used as a diet. It is a tool to tune into your hunger signals; use it to enjoy your food more! And never deprive yourself.

 

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