{ Mindful Eating }

Mindful Eating

Have you ever asked yourself as you’re eating your way through a tub of ice cream: “Why am I still eating this? My stomach hurts and I feel like crap – I should stop.” And then you keep on going. Yeah, I’ve been there too.

One of the biggest shifts in my health & wellness journey* has only happened in the last couple of months. I’ve seen a dramatic shift in my eating habits by practicing mindful eating. With the help of a nutritionist who had a holistic approach in helping me delve deeper into the psychology of eating, I learned that with a small shift in my perspective on treats and why I ate certain foods. I feel confidant that I am on a path to create lasting changes in my life to be strong, healthy and confident.

Mindful Eating

Creating a healthy lifestyle is not only how often you exercise and what you eat. Those are just indications of the state of your overall health on a physical, psychological and emotional level. To me, having a healthy lifestyle means taking care of your body by managing your stress levels; it means feeding your mind and soul on a daily basis so that you feel inspired and happy. It also means feeding your body the right nutrients to keep you going, and exercising to make sure that you have the physical strength to go through life full force!

It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve seen the biggest change in my body and I attribute that mainly to mindful eating. When I’m mindful before and during a meal, I notice that my body is ‘telling’ me what it wants and doesn’t want. I realized that I didn’t crave junk food because in reality, it makes me feel like crap after; my stomach becomes bloated and my digestive system is working in over-drive to process the sh*t I just ate. It does NOT feel good, even though in the moment, while eating the food, I am thoroughly enjoying it. So I began to ask myself ‘Do I *really* want this? Why do I want it? How will I feel after if I eat it? What would make me feel good and satisfied instead?’.

When I took the time to think about what my body truly wanted rather than just eating something for the sake of eating, I noticed that what I actually craved was something healthy and delicious that I enjoyed not only while I ate it, but also after because it made my body feel stronger and that it wasn’t over-working my system. It’s a very subtle but deep shift and you really need to focus on how your body is feeling to notice what’s going on inside your head and inside your gut.

There are more ways to practice mindful eating such as eating without distractions like the TV so that you are aware of what you are eating and when your body is telling you that you are full. But I think my favourite point about mindful eating is to start from a place of self-love – eating should be pleasurable but it’s also to give your body the nutrients it needs to give you energy. And guess what, healthy eating is actually more enjoyable because you don’t feel heavy and disgusting after!

Don’t get me wrong, I am FAR from being perfect. I am beginning to understand why I’ll eat half a bag of popcorn (even though I didn’t really feel like it), or why I want that sweet treat after a meal (and if you’re interested in learning about the different reasons WHY we eat unhealthy foods, let me know and I can do a separate blogpost on it!). But working through the emotions and fixing these habits takes energy and effort. I am building the muscle to be able to recognize the signs quicker and have a better control before reaching for that bag of popcorn, but I know that the times when I am able to fight the urge, I feel 1,000 times better and my body thanks me for it because I don’t feel like crap after.

A final important point about mindful eating is that you have to find the right balance for you. I’m not staying to not have a treat here and there. God knows I love having ice cream in the summertime. But try to learn to be in tune with your body and you will notice that you crave ‘treats’ less because eating healthy will feel like you are treating yourself and your body the way that it should be treated.

Have you tried mindful eating? What are have you observed? Share any tips or comments, I’d love to hear about your experiences so that we can all learn from each other! Share with me through social media, @SeppyforLove!

*I try using more empowering words to define my ‘weight loss efforts’ – seeing it as a health and wellness journey not only feels less daunting but also puts the emphasis on what’s more important than just how I look. I want to practice habits that I will keep for the rest of my life to feel stronger, healthier and better in my skin.

6 Comments

Belle

Hi Seppy,

I’ve been working really consciously over the past 3 months to change my dietary and exercise habits to improve my health and well-being. It’s been challenging!! But I’m starting to feel like I’m slowly changing my habits… I hope for the long term.

I recently came across this really inspirational blog post with a whole series of book recommendations for improving our relationship with food: http://www.andiemitchell.com/best-diet-weight-loss-books/ I haven’t decided which book to start with, but I’m thinking one of the Geneen Roth ones.

Give yourself a big pat on the back and keep at it. We’re in it together 🙂

http://www.thislifeisbelle.com

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Sepideh

Oh girl, I’m totally with you. I’m still working on building those healthy habits and it does take time, but it’s so worth it! So keep it up, because I totally understand how you feel! And I think what’s great about what we’re doing is that we are trying to making long-term changes that will be long-lasting rather than yo-yoing…

Thank you for sharing the link!! I’m totally going to add a few books on my list of books to read. You should do a review on your blog, it can be my “Spark Notes” until I have time to read it haha

You also deserve a big pat in the back doll, recognizing the things that we want to improve takes courage because you are admitting that you need to work on something, and that’s a strength <3 <3 Thank you for sharing with me, I appreciate that a lot!!

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Sepideh

Thanks Sarah!!! I think that to some extent, we’re all habit eaters, and that’s okay, because food is a pleasure in life! It’s just about finding a healthy balance, and I’m still working on it depending on the week and my energy levels, there are just times that I don’t think about it and just grab something and only realize afterwards that I was mindlessly eating. Oops!

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Sabaesse

Youre on point with the TV trick! Definitely curious about learning about the different reasons WHY we eat unhealthy foods 🙂 also curious what you do when you’re really craving something but you’re stuffed and your body obv doesn’t want it, it’s just emotional … on another point on my end, i realized recently that I was eating junk because people around me felt uncomfortable that I didn’t, almost like I felt responsible that they not feel guilty about caving in .. weird but true! And once I figured that out, it was a lot easier to make a decision as it was a more informed one rather than a decision out of “responsibility”

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Sepideh

How great that you are making those observations so that you can change your approach and NOT feel guilty about not eating something ‘just because’ others around you are having it. Feed your body what it wants, not what others around you want you to !

My capacity to be mindful really varies – if I’m able to stay in touch with how my body is feeling, I’m able to stop a plate and not even finish it if I’m stuffed. Other times, even though I’m stuffed and I want a treat after dinner, I’ll just have a really small thing just to keep me satisfied ..

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