DAY # 8
Good Morning, Challengers! This is without a doubt, one of my favorite mindful eating challenge habits that I added into my 30-day program. It has shifted me in such a positive direction that I love to incorporate into my life on the daily.
Today I will create a prayer, express words of gratitude and/or set an intention for every meal and snack.
I love this practice for so many reasons. According to Harvard Health, practicing gratitude will substantially increase your happiness. That alone is enough for me. By hitting pause before you put anything in your mouth (this includes the mindless eating while prepping food or while standing in the pantry), you are acutely aware of the activity you are about to engage in. When you stop to say or think about how grateful you are to eat and nourish your body, that activity of gratitude brings you into the present moment. That quick pause helps you become acutely aware of the activity of eating and allow you to tune in to see if what you are about to eat is really aligned with your long-term health and wellness goals. And saying grace, a prayer or expressing gratitude for the food you are about to eat is a big, big part of the mindful eating piece. Research shows that grateful people even sleep better!
Throughout history, people all over the world stop and give thanks for the food they are about to feed their body with. If there is only one mindful eating practice you can adopt throughout your 30-day journey, this is the one (if you don't already). If you do, then add to your gratitude by appreciating where you food is coming from (animal or vegetable kingdom). Thank the animals for sacrificing their life so that you are able to eat them. This realization is very unsettling for some people, but this is part of the mindful and awareness piece: creating awareness and an understanding of where your food actually comes from. (I've actually had clients transition to eating less animals or going vegan during the challenge because of this awareness factor).
So today say a blessing, give gratitude, set an intention when you eat all your meals and snacks. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just acknowledge and give thanks for what is in front of you. I like to thank the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain, our local, organic farmers who wake up at 4am on a Saturday to drive their produce to sell in Atlanta! Just explore how the food got to your table.
Next level is considering how the food you are about to eat will impact your energy levels. For example in my body, caffeine on an empty stomach will cause immediate + aggressive hunger. White processed sugar will totally zap my energy within 30 minutes and lately when I eat it, even on a content/full stomach, I am hungry in 20-30 minutes. Clearly my body is giving me signals that it causes a disruption in my belly. Being hungry AFTER a meal is frustrating and time consuming, so now I just avoid it. For the fast food eaters, yes this includes Chick-fila, then it DEFINITELY needs to be blessed because that food was not necessarily created with loving hands like homemade food is so make sure to bless it!
Pausing before you eat and giving thanks can also help you tap into how you are feeling: tired, hungry, bored, stressed, anxious, lonely etc. Your feelings can impact not only your food choices and how much you eat, but also how you digest the food. If you have negative emotions about what you are about to eat, your body is feeling it somewhere on a cellular level. It's the mind-body connection. So let go of judgment, bless your food, and nourish your body.