Do you enjoy your meals? Or, do you just eat?
Many of us just eat. Food is a means to an end. We are hungry. Our stomachs are aching. Maybe we’re running on empty and we just need something, NOW. And so, we just eat. There’s something edible, and it serves our purpose. And that’s all it is. Even if all of those edible things we grab are nutritious, we’re still doing ourselves a disservice.
Many of us are on the go from the moment our feet touch the ground in the morning to our head hitting the pillow at night. And so, our meals are on the go too. We eat in the car, at our desk, in meetings, between appointments, and in front of the TV. We eat what is convenient and easy.
Convenient and easy has become synonymous with American culture. And, on any given day, more than a third of American adults eat fast food for at least one meal. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe people should ever feel guilty for their food choices. And, I don’t believe in “good” and “bad” food. But, there are habits we should practice more frequently. And, those we should practice less frequently. Mindless and on the go eating, are habits we should do less frequently.
What exactly is mindless eating? It’s eating past full and ignoring your body’s signals. It’s eating according to emotions such as boredom or sadness. Mindless eating is eating while multitasking or on the go. It’s eating out of convenience or straight out of the package. The average person makes over 200 food related decisions in a day. But, we aren’t even aware of all of those decisions because we aren’t thinking about our food.
The outcome of mindless eating is harmful to our health. In many situations, we become unaware of what and how much we are eating. It can easily affect our weight and our energy. But it also means we aren’t giving ourselves a break. But slowing down, sitting down and having time for a meal, is self care. And, it is extremely important.
The idea of mindful eating is that we’re paying attention. It’s not just about taking the time to eat. It’s about paying attention to the food we’re putting into our bodies. And, paying attention to our bodies. Because we’re slowing down and paying attention, we’re less likely to overeat. We’re also less likely to fill ourselves up on junk.
When we’re just shoveling the next meal in, we aren’t letting our brains and our bodies connect. Our brain continues signaling hunger long past we’ve consumed more than enough calories to fulfill that hunger. We forget what our body’s hungry and full signals really are. We get used to the Oh. My. Gosh. I ate WAAAAY too much feeling. And that’s not being full. And, along with this, we just develop unhealthy habits that become harder and harder to break.
If we attempt an all or nothing strategy, we set ourselves up to fail. And we come back to square one. Instead, start with one mindful eating habit or one mindful meal a day, and build from there:
*Try to plan ahead for meals
*Avoid eating out of packages or while standing in the kitchen
*Try to eat somewhere other than your desk at work
*Turn your electronics OFF while eating
*Take your time, eat more slowly
Comment below to share your mindful eating tips and tricks. Or, reach out to me to set up your first coaching session.