DAY # 30
END OF THE RAINBOW.
COMMIT TO MINDFUL EATING SKILLS
Mindful eating can be a powerful tool to feel in charge of your meal choices and experience more peace with nourishing your body in a simple way; by being aware and conscious of the eating process, without judgment. We tend to be very judgmental while we are eating, thinking things such as, “Ugh, I feel guilty or shouldn’t be eating this” or “I’m so hungry there is no way this will fill me up.” Our cognitive brain tries to figure out answers before we are physically there, in the moment, experiencing it. Mindful eating is all about being in the moment and listening to the cues your stomach is giving you and less about your your brain and eyes are dictating!
WE ARE WHAT WE PRACTICE
To feel more peaceful and in charge about your eating style and choices incorporate these 10 steps to becoming a more mindful eater.
Sit down at a table while eating.
Notice how your body feels as you sit in the chair and place your feet on the ground.
Pause and feel your breath and take a deep inhalation, filling your body with oxygen and releasing it with a long outward breath. If you are feeling any stress, take 5-6 long, deep breaths.
Assess your surroundings and then assess your feelings both related to appetite and those unrelated. Just notice them.
Re-direct your attention to the food in front of you. Observe the colors, textures, and smells. Pick up your utensil and observe the sensation in your hand. Slowly take a small bite. Close your eyes and feel the texture, taste and temperature on the food while you begin to chew. Try to keep the food in your mouth, chewing everything slowly and tasting the changing flavors and textures before you swallow. Ideally you want the food to be the consistency of applesauce.
Pay attention to how the food feels going down your esophagus and into your stomach when you swallow. Notice if you feel different or the same.
Put your utensil down between bites (or your food down if you are dining on finger food) and pause. Take a breath and check in with your body. At this early point you may feel very hungry and somewhat impatient with the process. This is very normal. It is important to note to yourself that the food is not going anywhere and that you will get satisfied. This will teach you patience.
Continue step 5, revisiting step 2 and 3 as needed to become calm and centered again.
Slow down even further once you are halfway done with your meal and notice the hunger hormones changing in your body, notice your changing appetite, notice the feeling in your stomach, notice that the food is still there and it is going to be okay to continue to take it slow.
Once you are done with your meal, once you are 75-80% “full” and content, stop all activity and assess your satiety level again. Just notice this and observe without judgment. Notice your thoughts. Re-check after 5-10 minutes and notice if you became more comfortable or more satiated as the food settled. Note your experience without judgment.
FREE YOURSELF FROM THE JUDGEMENT
Often we are the first to point the finger at others, “Aren’t you full yet?” Or, “You’re only going to eat that much?” Judgment for others and judgment for self, irrelevant of honest feelings. It is no wonder, without mindfulness principles, we begin to feel out of control when it comes to eating!
With continued patience and practice, an inner trust and peacefulness around food and your body can develop. It may be the first time you ever felt trusting around food and your body, but over time it will continue to grow. Many people are raised with controlling caregivers or parents and, even with the best intentions, the result can often be an incredible insecurity and fear around eating and weight management. You can achieve feels of peace, curiosity, and wisdom about your body and eating. What a lovely place to live in - having peace with your relationship with food, your body, and the process of eating!
MORE FUN TO BE HAD: A DEEPER DIVE
Continue to practice the mindful eating skills you have experienced during this 30-Day Challenge. For those contacted me and are interested in adding on the additional 37-Day INTENSIVE for the deep dive Mindful Eating Challenge, bravo. It will only solidify what you've learned during these 30-Days.
According to recent research, it takes 66 days to make a habit stick. So you will be able to further cultivate this eating skills and truly make them a habit + an additional bonus day (30 days of the first part of the challenge + 37 challenge days).
It has been my absolute pleasure being part of your shift with your relationship with food. Please stay in touch with me, sign up for my blog updates on my website www.nutritionatlanta.com and do HNAT be a stranger. We are family now and I hope you will join me for the extended version of the challenge or loop back around for another challenge (ask me about the discount you will receive since you have done it before).
BIG hugs and mindful eating wishes! I hope to see you again in the not too distant future :)