By: Constance DeGroat
We have to be mindful of what we decide to digest through our mind and our stomachs.
If we can learn to control our minds and stomachs we can get better control of our diets. Transcendental meditation’s concept of mindfulness has entered our kitchens. Being here and now before, during, and after you eat can make you more aware of your eating habits (Transcendental Meditation Benefits/ Body/ Manage Weight).
Now to the techniques you can use to practice “Mindful Eating”.
- Understand why you eat.
When we eat we need to be aware of why we eat and are we fulfilling the reason we eat? Or are we eating because of emotions? Do you eat because you are hungry? Or do you eat due to hunger in other areas of your life? Is your stomach really empty or some other part of your life?
We weren’t made to eat just to eat. Eating has a purpose. Eating is essential to our survival. Not everything we want to eat benefits our survival. Asking yourself- why am I eating? Is it an essential part of changing your diet?
Here are some Apps to help you track your emotions, and thoughts related to how and what you eat.
- Rise Up App
- My Net Diary App
- The Food Diary App
- Meallogger App
- You Ate App
- Understand the difference between thirst and hunger.
Thirst and hunger can be mistaken as the same thing. Drink a glass of water and see how you feel.
- Be mindful of the emotions and feelings often mistaken for hunger. We are all guilty of resorting to emotional eating.
The concept H.A.L.T. is another great way to practice mindful eating.
Before you eat ask yourself these questions:
- H- Am I hungry?
- Am I angry?
- L- Am I lonely?
- T- Am I tired? (CSSD)
Obviously if you are hungry you should eat.
If you are angry I would not recommend eating. Anger causes cravings for unhealthy foods like salty-crunchy chips. If you’re angry write down what is bothering you, or be active. Don’t let emotions take over your body. Anger is energy you have to send somewhere, but without hurting others. Is there a certain thought that makes you want to eat? How can we handle this stress better?
Try yoga! Yoga makes you concentrate on a calm body while you stand in awkward positons. If you can breathe through the poses then you can keep a calm breath through any uncomfortable situation life throws at you.
It’s tempting to push your body really far when stretching. That’s not the goal in yoga. The goal in yoga is being able to breath where you are. If you focus on breathing where you are, you will find you can stretch further.
If you are lonely do not eat. When we are lonely we crave things like chocolate, dairy, and carbs. Our cravings are smarter than we think. These foods provide a feeling of instant satisfaction, comfort and the love we deeply need all thanks to Phenylethylamine, serotonin, tyramine, choline, and dopamine (Greenfield). When the feelings of comfort disappear from eating carbs, dairy and chocolate we are left to restart the cycle. Why not acknowledge you are lonely and talk to a friend or go hang out?
Are you really just tired? When we don’t sleep enough and aren’t in the situation to fall asleep, our body will decide it needs more fuel to power through the day. Don’t fall for it. Take a nap. When we are tired we crave coffee, tea, and various other forms of caffeine and sugar easily accessible in vending machines.
It’s helpful to drink some water first and see if you are still tired. Dehydration causes exhaustion (Axe).
- Be mindful of the food you are eating and how you feel while eating it. How does the
food make you feel about you? What emotions are you experiencing while you eat? How does this food benefit me? How does it nourish me?
- After you eat, pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel any inflammation? Do you have energy? What emotions do you experience after eating? Keep a journal reflecting before, during and after you eat. How do you feel? Do you feel sluggish? Full of regret?
I have to eat a specialized diet. When I deviate off of the diet and eat gluten-free desserts I have found I don’t feel the way I want to feel. Even though I can now eat gluten-free pancakes or cupcakes doesn’t mean it belongs in my body. I don’t miss the sluggish feeling I have when I eat those foods. I feel energetic when I stick to healthy gluten-free foods.
Realize how food makes you feel. Change what you need to.
Remember this about dieting….
Axe, Josh MD. “Health Talks Online.” Health Talks Online, Health Talks Online
CSSD, Jae Berman MS RD. “HALT When Hungry.” The Huffington Post,
Greenfield, Ben. “What Do Food Cravings Mean.” Ben Greenfield Diet, Fat Loss, and
Performance Advice, Ben Greenfield Fitness, 20 July 2017,
Rabbitt, Meghan. “The 10-Week Mindful Diet Plan for Healthy Eating.” Yoga Journal, Cruz Bay
Publishing, 17 June 2015, https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/the-10-week-mindful-diet-plan-for-healthy-eating#gid=ci0207568ce04225bd&pid=chaturanga
“Transcendental Meditation Benefits/ Body/ Manage Weight.” TM Women/, Global Mother
Divine Organization, 2008, https://www.tm-women.org/weight-management/
Feature image via Head in the Game