Some of us spend most of our waking hours thinking about food, what we’re going to eat next, when we’re going to eat it, how much we’re going to eat, the effects of our food intake on the scale, the next carb-filled potluck party, etc.
We know that good nutrition and food choices are key components of a healthy lifestyle, but despite our best intentions, we don’t always eat what’s right for our body. Earlier this month, Coach Oscar shared in his Mindful Eating session 6 easy tips that can help us eat mindfully in order to get the best nutrition our bodies need and avoid weight gains and maximize taste satisfaction. We summarized them for you!
Back to B.A.S.I.C.S.
Instead of letting our emotions dictate our food intake or get tripped up in our inner arguments regarding whether or not we should be having this extra slice of pizza, we can apply the simple, yet powerful, BASICS practice.
- Breath and Belly
- Assess food
- Slow down
Each time we engage in eating, be it a full meal or a quick snack, we can try to apply these principles one by one. By doing so, you will start noticing a difference between feeling slightly full, full, and really full.
You will therefore gain more tasting satisfaction from your food and make wiser choices that support full enjoyment of food without overconsumption.
Breath and Belly
Before diving into that bowl of pasta and shoving the delicious food in your mouth, take a moment to breathe. You may put your hand on your belly and check in with your hunger sensations. How hungry are you really? Could you be thirsty instead? You might be anxious, fearful or frustrated and need a walk instead of a bag of chips. Is the food in front of you going to satisfy that hunger? This breath and body check is useful to find out if you really are hungry.
If you are, then go ahead!
Examine your food. Take it into your hands or touch it with your spoon/fork. Notice the colors, smells, shapes, and noises (?) it makes. What kind of food is it? Where does it come from? Is it a fruit picked at a local farm? Is it processed? What are its nutritious values?
A short pause to ask yourself a few questions about your food can help you decide if you really want it or not.
We rush to get ready in the morning, we rush to get to work, we rush to get tasks done throughout the day, and we rush to eat. You probably already know this, but slowing down when you eat is actually much better for you.
Not only will you enjoy flavors more by not overstimulating your tastebuds all at once, but it will allow you to start feeling when you’re full before you’ve overeaten.
Simple methods to help you slow down include putting down your fork, pausing and taking a breath between bites.
Throughout the meal or snack, make sure to investigate your feeling of satiety. Check in with your belly again. Are you filling up? Are you still enjoying the food as much as you did at the first bite? Maybe you’re actually not enjoying it anymore. No matter if your plate is still full, give yourself permission to stop. You can pack your food and take it home to enjoy later. We are often told not to waste good food, but if you’re not hungry anymore and you keep eating, your body will store that extra energy as fat or evacuate it.
Your body is not a trash can, feed that compost bin instead!
Chewing your food slowly allows your body to digest the nutrients from your food more efficiently. It also allows your tastebuds to fully experience the different flavors in your food and let you know when they’re saturated and need a break.
Savoring your food should be your #1 priority when it comes to eating. Make sure you are present with all the rich and complex flavors comprised in every bite. Make the experience worth it by tuning into your tastebuds’ reactions and enjoy your snack or meal. You will find that truly savoring your food goes a long way when it comes to eating just enough for nutrition without overeating.
Finally, becoming fully present for the experience of eating and the pleasure that it can bring, free of judgement is the best way you can approach a healthy weight when it comes to nutrition. You will find it incredibly rewarding and relieving to free yourself of the negative, self-deprecating thoughts and guilt that usually come with weight loss programs or apps.