Some mindful strategies to get you back on track!
There is so much hype around what you’re eating and how much but what about the HOW? Just the plain old, simple how do you eat your food?
When was the last time you just sat down to a meal and ate it?
Not like inhaled it so fast that you need to ask yourself the question, did I even chew? But actually sat down without any distractions, taking each bite slowly and really tasting the delicious flavours, inhaling the aroma and allowing the bodies digestive enzymes to really work their magic?
We live in a busy world where the phone is constantly ringing, the boss needs to speak to you urgently, that email needed a response 5 minutes ago, your favourite television show is on and you can’t live in suspense a moment longer, the list goes on…
With so many distractions around us, we are preventing our body from being able to do what it does best. We’ve lost our basic and fundamental intuition.
By ignoring the HOW we eat, we may end up with problems such as:
We swallow moments after the food has entered the mouth without allowing amylase or lipase (digestive enzymes that assists in breaking down carbohydrates and fats respectively) to reach their full potential. These enzymes are there to make digestion easier in the stomach and small intestine (where most of the absorption of nutrients occurs).
We miss our hunger cues and find ourselves distracted in meetings whilst our stomach howls and begs for its next meal.
We miss fullness cues because we have eaten so fast that our body hasn’t had time to adjust or we were so focused on that Television show that we look down and suddenly our plate is empty and we need to undo the top button on our pants.
We miss our ability to analyze how we feel after each meal and if certain food choices were really the best option because our lives are so fast paced that we’re constantly distracted.
Here are some mindful strategies to help get you back in touch:
- Take a breath in between each mouthful of food
- If you’re in a group environment, pace yourself against the slowest eater
- Aim for several “distraction free” meals each week i.e. no phones, no television and out of the office
- Focus on the meal. Pay attention the colours, the flavours and the texture whilst it is in your mouth. Truly understand what it means to enjoy a meal
- Start noticing hunger and fullness cues. Track on a scale of 1-10 how hungry you are before a meal and how full you are after. Did you stop at 10 when you were so full your pants were about to rip or did you stop at a 7-8 when you felt satisfied?
- Practice self-awareness. OK my meal is over; how do I feel now? Am I bloated? Am I alert and full of energy or do I feel sluggish?
Slow and steady wins the race! Get back in touch with yourself and prioritize the HOW you eat over the WHAT and HOW MUCH. Focusing on the HOW may just correct the WHAT and the HOW MUCH naturally!!!