One common thread many of my clients have is that so many want to work on being more mindful, especially around food. You might think that word is uttered only by gurus and yoga teachers, but it is now mainstream – at least mainstream among people who want to improve their health and their lives!
We would all benefit from incorporating more mindfulness into our life. It simply means being aware in the moment.
When it comes to food, awareness is key. How many times have you found yourself eating from a bag of chips and before you know it they are all gone? Do you eat so fast at the dinner table that when you finish your plate you are still hungry? Do you stuff food into your mouth because you are stuffing down feelings?
Studies show that if we eat mindfully, we will enjoy our food more, feel more satisfied on less and consumer fewer calories over the course of a day. Mindful eating usually means eating more slowly, and since the satiation signal in the body needs 20 minutes to let you know you are full, eating with awareness ensures you do not overeat.
One of my clients was able to savor his food, and be more present with his family around the dinner table, by putting his fork down between each bite. This forced him to pay attention to how he was eating, and to slow down. He did not feel the need to go back for seconds when he ate this way. Mindfulness allows us to listen to our bodies instead of being run by habit or emotion.
I have been helped tremendously by working with my coach on eating with more awareness. As an inveterate snacker, it is easy for me to stand at the cupboard and eat from the box (or the peanut butter jar). The weekly goals we set helped me develop the habit of measuring out what I want into a bowl or plate, and then moving away from the cupboard. I have cut my habit of eating without thinking, feeling or tasting down 80%.
Let’s not waste our lives in numbness or distraction, and instead appreciate our every breath by being completely aware and in each moment. It’s good for our health too.