>> Learning and Development Specialist Natalie Papini discusses mindful eating and provides us with some practical ideas and logical first steps to get you started.
Mindfulness is all the rage these days. Between holistic health retreats and the magazine covers at the checkout line, it’s trendy to be more present in your daily tasks. Mindful eating takes tenants of mindfulness and applies it to how we eat. If you’re looking to become more mindful with your eating habits, here’s three initial steps that might help you make it happen:
1. Slow Down
Have you ever consumed your food so quickly that, at the end of your meal, you realize you could have stopped eating ten bites ago? Some mindless eaters eat so quickly that they fail to recognize when their body tells them they’re full. Mindless eaters can eat food so quickly that they deprive themselves of the chance to truly appreciate the smells, textures, and tastes of their food. When you slow down, you give your body time to catch up to your brain. Eating at a slower pace can improve the communication between your mind and your body, which can make you more in tune with your nutritional needs and feelings of fullness.
Possible First Step: Think of some ways you can slow down while you eat. Perhaps you could only eat while seated, set your eating utensil down in between bites and chew each bite a certain number of times. Beyond these suggestions, your Profile Coach can help you discover other ways you can slow down while eating and listen to your body’s signals.
2. One Thing at a Time
You may think you’re adept at multi-tasking, but research tells us quite the opposite. Too often we try to do many things at once and end up doing lots of things with mediocrity rather than doing any of them very well. The same can be said for food. When mindful eaters eat, they just eat. They’re not eating while also answering emails, reading the latest status update or watching their favorite TV show. Research supports the association between mindful eating practices and a greater awareness of hunger and fullness feelings. Consider cutting out the distractions at meal time if you want to increase your awareness of hunger and satiety.
Possible First Step: Ask yourself how many meals per week are you consuming while doing other things at the same time? Talk with your Profile coach about opportunities you see that could help you focus on just eating when it’s meal time.
3. Starts and Stops
What starts and stops your eating? Mindless eating can lead you to start eating when your emotions tell you to eat (like when you’re feeling bored, sad, alone). Mindful eaters leave their emotions out of it, eating when they notice physical cues (such as stomach growls, low energy and headaches). By the same token, mindful eaters tend to listen to their body signals more attentively, while mindless eaters eat past feeling full and ignore these signals.
Possible First Step: Start tracking what starts and stops your eating. Once you identify where you fall on the mindful/mindless eating spectrum, you can begin to come up with a plan to initiate and stop eating based on physical sensations rather than emotional ones.
At the end of the day, there’s great news: you’re a Profile member, which means you don’t have to figure this out alone. Initiate a conversation with your coach during your next coaching appointment and they can help you make mindful eating a priority!