Hi!! Yesterday, I determined my WHY for doing the challenge: to keep my energy levels high, to sleep better at night, and to keep my mood happy and stable! Basically, I want to feel AWESOME!!
Today, I want to think about my HOW. And I’m going to start with a kind of interesting question:
How and when do I eat?
At first, this sounds like a very silly question with an easy answer: When you feel like eating, you put food in your mouth, you chew, and you swallow. When and how else would you eat? It’s shocking, but there is actually a better way, friends!
It’s a concept called mindful eating. We need it more than ever. The media and our culture bombards us daily with messages encouraging excess and convenience. There’s an attitude of “Give me more and do it faster!”
We should not rush eating. We should not hastily cram down meals to go on to what’s perceived as more important business. Enjoying our meals should be a priority.
The foods we eat are precisely what gets broken down in our digestive system and dispersed through our bodies, quite literally building and repairing our bodies!
Think about that for a minute. We truly are made of what we eat. Giving our bodies quality “growing foods” (as my daughter’s preschool teacher says) should take a high priority in our lives, and we should give it some thought… Which brings me to:
Tips for Mindful Eating
Eat when you are hungry.
Healthy eating requires eating! Please do not try to sustain yourself on some lemon-water-cayenne pepper concoction and two boiled eggs a day with an occasional stick of celery as a treat. Don’t starve yourself!
That being said, we should eat when we are truly hungry. We should not eat because we are bored, anxious, stressed, or emotional.
I often reach for a snack as soon as my children go down for naps. I bottle up a lot of motherhood stress. Eating is often my coping mechanism for dealing with the stress and the downtime after taking care of little people demands all morning. During the month, I’m going to work hard to avoid that emotional afternoon snack!
Put down the technology.
I find this easier said than done. While at home, I make an effort turn off the TV and put my phone away during meals. Technology is such a distraction from our real lives. This month, I’m going to ban phones from the dining room and kitchen table. I plan to use family meals as a way to connect with my family, to laugh over the day, and to simply enjoy the blessing of having them in my life. True fellowship with my family fills my heart and soul with a joy that cannot be replicated by material or technological things.
This month, I’m also making it a priority to eat lunch away from my workspace as much as possible. If you have coworkers and can eat with your them, I encourage you to do that and strengthen your working relationships at the same time.
Slow down, enjoy, and taste your food.
I am always doing, doing, doing, and while I am doing all that doing, I’m often thinking of what needs to get done next. I need to give those busy thought processes a rest. It’s important to carve a little time out of my day to focus on really savoring my meals. I want to truly taste all the flavors of my meals.
If I’m enjoying my food, I’ll have less moments of wolfing down more than intended and then wondering where all my food went! It will take practice. But those moments of undistracted enjoyment will give my brain a little break. And those moments are worth more to me than just eating healthily.
Don’t eat food you don’t enjoy just because you think it is healthy.
I am a FIRM believer that food should taste good. I love food, and I don’t see any reason to eat something if it doesn’t taste good. If I don’t like something that I’m eating, I feel completely guiltless in getting rid of that food and preparing myself something else more enjoyable.
However, I’ll encourage you to keep in mind that foods taste best when cooked and seasoned properly. So try foods prepared in different manners before deciding you don’t like a particular food.
Stop eating when you are full.
This is another tip that I find easier said than done. What can I say? I love to eat. This month, I’m going to put down my fork when I am full rather than stuffing in whatever’s left on the plate. No more clean plate club!
For more information on mindful eating, take a peek at this site: http://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/Principles-Mindful-Eating
Okay, now that we know more about mindful eating, let’s start putting the concept in practice all month long. Let me know in the comments how it goes for you.
By the way, January 26 is International Mindful Eating Day. Be sure to put that on your calendar! And if you are working towards healthy eating along with me this month, you’ll know you have been celebrating all month long! 🙂