Mindful Eating: Tip 5

Tip 5: Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry.

Guess what? You really don’t have to eat until you’re full. You don’t have to ‘clean your plate.’

If you’re slowing down and being present while you eat, you will notice when your hunger is satisfied. Stop eating then. Push your plate away. Enjoy the conversation with your dinner mates. But just don’t eat any more. If you feel like you want to eat, but you know you’re not hungry, drink water.

This seems to be the most difficult for many of us, myself included. As kids a lot of us were taught we must eat everything on our plates. In our family we were also taught we had to try everything on the table. This creates some devastating habits.

So, here’s your permission slip: you CAN leave food on your plate, you CAN only eat the food you like.

No child in a third world country is going to suffer any more than they already are because we leave food on our plates.

So how do you gameplan this for those family holiday feasts?

Focus on slowing down and stopping when you’re no longer hungry. Limit or avoid alcohol. Eat your favorite foods first.

Tomorrow at our Thanksgiving meal, the first thing on my plate will be sweet potato casserole. It’s my holiday fave.

Here is a downloadable worksheet to help with your plan.

How are you taking control of your health over the holidays?

Mindful Eating: Tip 4

Set mealtimes. Set your table. Sit at your table to eat.

As much as possible, set mealtimes in your home. Sometimes that seems almost impossible, but try to do so for at least one meal each day. It doesn’t even have to be the same meal every day. Maybe on weekends it’s easier to get everyone together for breakfast and during the week everyone gathers for supper. Make sure everyone stays at the table until everyone is finished eating. It’s not only good for your health to slow down while eating, it’s a great time for conversation, to get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives.

The point is to gather at the table with no distractions.

Set your table. Even if it’s a tray. In our travel trailer we don’t have a table, but we both have trays. For our meals we pull out the trays, sit beside each other on the sofa, and eat.

Make family meals an event, a tradition.

Do you have mealtimes already in your home? Do you involve your kids in helping to set the table and clear it after the meal is completed?

Mindful Eating Tips for Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving is one week away in the US. Can you believe it? This has been the longest and the fastest year all rolled into one. And given how bizarre this year has been, that makes total sense in my brain.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time of family, fun, gratitude, and…well, gluttony. You know I’m right.

But I think there’s a better way. Yes, definitely still enjoy some treats. I can promise you pumpkin pie will find my face. So will some sweet potato casserole. So how can I eat the things I love and associate with Thanksgiving without totally blowing my health goals?

Two words.

Mindful eating.

Mindful eating is just the practice of mindfulness applied to eating. Being present. Being aware. Being focused.

Over the next few days I’m going to share my five favorite tips for mindful eating practice so that we can enjoy and indulge on Thanksgiving without totally committing gluttony.

What is Mindfulness

If you’re anything like me you’re probably tired of hearing about mindfulness. It’s been such a buzzword the past few years. But given how 2020 is shaking out I’ve been exploring ways to regain not only physical health but some peace, some calm. It turns out a mindfulness practice fits very well with my physical health and fitness goals.

In April I started taking health and fitness uber seriously. I think the stress of quarantine made me realize that it was one of the few things I could control. And, I think like many of us, my thoughts were kind of like a tornado whirling around my brain those first weeks of lock down. I’m sure most of you can relate.

As I started working out and trying to get my eating habits in some semblance of order, I found myself naturally becoming more mindful. I just didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.

According to Mayo Clinic mindfulness is a meditation practice in which you bring your focus onto what you’re sensing, feeling, thinking in that moment, no judgement or self-censorship.

I kind of like the first definition at dictionary.com:

the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mindfulness?s=t

The simplicity of that definition speaks to what I experienced and how I approach mindfulness in my life now. Awareness. A way to pay attention.

Life is so busy whether you’re going to a job, working from home, looking for a job, or just trying to figure out your next step. Mindfulness, bringing your awareness to that one moment, to really pinpoint what’s going through your mind, what’s around you, what you’re feeling, what can that do?

For me it gives me an awareness that there really are some things I can control in my life. There are some things that I can affect the outcome.

This week, take one minute and just sit with your thoughts. Just let them come, but be aware of what you’re thinking. Don’t worry about why you’re thinking or that you should change what you’re thinking. Just be aware of your thoughts. Then take one minute and look at the area where you’re sitting. Really look at it. What’s in the space. What does the it smell like? What’s the temperature? What are the colors? What do you hear?

Next week let’s look at some of the health benefits of mindfulness.

Playing Catch Up

This seems to be a week of playing catch up. I’m totally off schedule with my blog posts. Feel like I’m way behind on sleep. Can’t keep straight in my brain even what day of the week it is. Sometimes life just gets too busy, and I totally let myself get sucked under. 

So I’m going to spend the rest of the week trying to practice mindfulness, to be present in each moment, to explore what each moment teaches me. 

Right now I’m on the Music City Star train on the way home from work. The gentle sway and rhythmic clickety-clack of the wheels on the track are soothing after a long day in the clinic. 

How do you make yourself slow down when you get caught up in the busyness of every day life?