Mindful Eating

This is a guest post by Carla Wyatt: 

Mindfulness: A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly and non-judgmentally acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

 The present moment is the only time anyone has to perceive, learn, grow, or change. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

I am a big fan of mindfulness. I am also a big fan of eating. Put the two together? I. Am. Sold.

Mindfulness can dramatically change our lives. It can bring a deep sense of appreciation and fullness to each moment. Experiences, like eating, can be richer and more satisfying.

Mindfulness, even in its simplicity, can be one of the most challenging practices. Now that I think about it, I guess the same can be said for healthy eating.

We are used to having packed schedules, eating on the run, in our cars and eating food for convenience instead of health. We are constantly being bombarded by clever food marketing strategies and misinformation. It is no wonder that we don’t know what is what anymore! Who has time to focus on the NOW?!?

Slowing down and focusing on the present can be hard! Just try to be mindful for, let’s say, 5 minutes. Completely mindful, fully present in the moment…starting NOW, I’ll wait…

Oh, lost it already?? Yeah, me too. Did you get distracted by bacon? Just me?

sipress-im-meditating

 

The good news is that mindfulness is a PRACTICE and a great way to start the practice of mindfulness is with an eating meditation. It is traditionally done with a raisin. (In case you really dislike raisins, it can be done with anything. Might I suggest a small piece of dark chocolate?)

The eating meditation goes a little something like this…

Start by taking 3 rounds of breath, as deep into your belly as you can get it. See if you can move your awareness with your breath, following it in and out.

Put the raisin in your hand. Really look at it, like you have never seen a raisin before.

Now close your eyes.

Put the raisin in your mouth.

Slowly, S-l-o-w-l-y chew the raisin, don’t swallow. Just move it naturally in your

mouth noticing the taste and the texture. Do the flavors change? Does the texture

or shape change? What do you notice?

When you are ready, swallow the raisin and open your eyes.

No magic in that, right? That is mindful eating at its simplest.

Slow

Of course, there can be so much more to mindful eating. We can be mindful as we make our food choices at the market. We can be fully present in the experience of preparing our food. We can pay attention to how our body reacts to the foods that we are eating. The practice of mindfulness will also lead us to look into our motivation for eating. Are we truly hungry? Or are we motivated by emotions, boredom, reward, or social pressures?

Mindful eating can help us become more aware of our hunger and satiety cues. How do you feel when you start your meal? Ravenous? A little hungry? Hangry? How do you feel when you finish your meal? Do you need to unbutton your pants? Do you feel about 80% full? Eating mindfully allows time for our brain to register that we are full, which can take about 20 minutes.

Sit down, do nothing else but eat. Eat with all of your senses. Put your fork down between bites. See if you can extend your meal time and really savor your food. Make your first bite a mindful bite. Similar to the raisin exercise above. Close your eyes, and really experience the food. Do this exercise mid-way through your meal and with your last bite as well. You will be amazed at how much more satisfying the eating experience is, and likely you will feel full sooner, because you are fully present and mindful.

So what do you say? Let’s eat!

Which one are you?

Which one are you?

 

Who is Carla Wyatt?

  • Nutrition Coach at 2.0 Next Level Fitness
  • Registered Nurse– with honors from UW School of Nursing in 2000.
  • Clinic Nurse/Nutrition Educator/Biofeedback Therapist at Pacific Rehabilitation Centers since 2006; working with chronic pain patients.
  • Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
  • Eat To Perform Nutrition Coach Certification

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-day Habit Hack Testimonial (Dana Panteleeff)

It takes a minimum of 3-weeks to form a habit…

 

This means if you want to form the habit of healthy eating as quickly as possible, you need a very detailed plan. And that’s what the 21-day habit hack is, it is a blueprint on how to change your eating habits for the better. More specifically, it is 21-day food plan and accountability program. This program uses the power of REAL FOOD to get REAL RESULTS. The best part there are no pills are pre-packed shakes for you to purchase.

 

For more information about the 21-day habit hack click here

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21-day Habit Hack Testimonial

 

By Dana Panteleeff:

 

“Why the 21-day hack got my attention:  In my late 30s, I opted to go back to get a Masters degree while working more than full time and with two small(ish) kids (and an amazingly supporting husband…).  Exercise, sleep, and eating habits took a back seat and I gained about 35 pounds during those two years.  At some point I realized I had sort of accidently tried the “ignore it and hope it goes away” approach, but that wasn’t working so well….  So I switched to trying “eat less, move more,” with mixed results over time….  I kept finding myself battling mid-morning super hunger/”hangry” and a mid/late afternoon slump, cranky when I’d get hungry, and later overcompensating.  Too much of a roller coaster, and I suspected something in that roller coaster might be sabotaging my efforts.  I wasn’t feeling ready for 10-week challenge, but figured I could take on 3-weeks and see if that help reset the things I was wrestling with. Turned out to be exactly that.

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Dana hard at work!

 

 

Overall: An energizing and enlightening experience.  I realized just how many carbs were in the daily routine, and that they were probably at the root of the rollercoaster. Bulletproof coffee replaced my (typical) whole wheat toast with butter and (maybe) jam in the car while commuting.  Lunches were packed from the previous dinner leftovers instead of grabbing a sandwich at the deli.  Dinner recipes as provided  weren’t too far from our usual routine, but nice to have some new ideas in the mix.  And, they were either quick and easy (even with the four of us going in multiple directions every evening) or ready in the slow cooker when arriving home.  My kids learned they do like asparagus (when it’s cooked with bacon), and while not everything that we tried will be an ongoing family favorite, many of the recipes will work into our usual rotation ongoing.

 

I admit I wasn’t initially a fan of the idea of taking a selfie everyday and emailing it to Jessica, but when looking back through, it surprises me how much can change in just 21-days.  I do wish I had taken measurements, but from photos and general feelings, I can tell that things are changing — visually, from the photos, ~8 pounds lighter on the scale,  and clothes are already fitting better.

 

I’ll also admit that Week 1 took some adjusting.  I was initially fairly hungry in the mid mornings, but once I adopted the counter intuitive advice of eating more protein at dinner the night before, that quickly settled.  By the third week, I was needing to remind myself to eat.  ” Eat less, move more” turned to “eat more, move more” and with far more tolerable results.  I had a few work-related meals and a wedding anniversary dinner within the 21-day period, so diverted a bit from the scheduled plan but used the opportunity to choose protein and veggie options since such events are (luckily) just part of my life, and my intent is to continue well beyond these initial 21 days.

 

Support and encouragement throughout was abundant.  Email comments from Jessica, daily texts, weekly reviews from Carla via MyFitnessPal all were key.  I’ve used MyFitPal on and off over the years, but something about knowing that someone would review and comment helped “up” my attention to detail. 

 

If I could offer one area to consider for the future — if meals were pre-logged in to MyFItPal, that would be awesome.  I was doing some best-guessing on matching what was logged in the tool already vs what I was eating….if we collectively added “CKO” as part of the recipe name (or similar) that could help further reduce burden/guessing/further reduce effort needed when taking on changes such as these.

 

All in all, awesome idea, awesome program, totally doable.  I am feeling more balanced and predictable related to hunger and moods, which is exactly what I wanted out of it. 

 

THANKS CKO!!