It is possible to cultivate a healthier relationship with food (and your body) through deeper internal connection and awareness of your own bio-individuality. Since all bodies are different, paying closer attention to physical sensations, including natural hunger and fullness cues, can teach you what is right for you.
To practice this, take your time, experiencing your food with each of your senses. How does each bite look, smell, taste, feel? As much as possible, eat while sitting in an enjoyable, relaxed environment to truly savor each moment, and let your adrenal system ease out of fight or flight.
With practice, mindful eating can reduce stress by keeping you in the present moment, versus fixated on worry or doubt. It is a form of self-care that can prevent overeating, increase satisfaction, and improve body confidence. Regulating your eating can also be a way to help regulate emotions for increased calm and balance.
While eating is about nourishment, it can also be pleasurable. Keep in mind that no foods are “good” or “bad.’ Instead of restrictive diets, enjoy a wide range of wholesome options, noticing how different ones affect you. This empowers you to choose more of what makes you function (and feel) best and less of everything else.
As you eat, notice when your enjoyment starts to diminish. Let yourself end your meal once you feel satisfied, not full. When drawn to eat, get curious about whether you are actually in need of fuel, or whether you are responding to emotional or environmental triggers. (i.e. boredom, sadness, anxiousness, excitement, habit, social cues, etc.).
Remember, health comes in all shapes and sizes and the way we each achieve it will be unique. Mindful eating is like any other mindfulness practice: Some days will go better than others. Being kind to yourself will help you replace judgment, guilt, and shame with self-acceptance and compassion.
Learning to be a more mindful eater paves the way for you to feel more connected with, and grateful for your body, as well as all that goes into your meal-time experience. As an added benefit, the more you practice mindfulness at mealtime, the more you are likely to extend it into other areas of your life.
Becoming more in tune with your natural rhythms and inner wisdom can feel overwhelming, as there can be a complex interplay between food, emotions, and mental well-being. Seeking professional guidance can help you gain insights into your thoughts, behaviors, and habits, so you can transform them into a more balanced and positive relationship with food. Ultimately, this contributes to a more mindful approach to overall wellness.
Building a positive relationship with food takes time and commitment. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress you make along the way. Remember, this journey is about embracing an intuitive and compassionate approach to eating (one that is right for you) to bolster both your physical and mental health.
For further exploration, guidance, and support around mindful eating, contact Coach Rebecca.
Article originally printed in City Lifestyle Magazine - October 2023
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