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6 surefire ways to practice mindful eating

1) Stop Eating When Full & Listen to Your Body.

It takes 20 minutes to feel full.  The hormone called ghrelin turns on your “I’m hungry” switch.  As you eat, your ghrelin hormone drops.  It takes about 20 minutes for your food to travel from your stomach to your colon.  Here’s where the “I’m full!” switch gets turned on by the hormone peptide yy.  Patiently give your body enough time for it to work!

You can slow down your eating to give your body time to turn on your “I’m full” switch.  Here are a few ways to slow down:

  1. Sit down to eat.
  2. Cut up your food into small pieces.
  3. Chew each bite 25 times or more.
  4. Notice the taste of each bite of food.  Savor it.
  5. Set your fork down between bites.
  6. Talk to others while your mouth is empty.
  7. Listen to others while engaging in eye contact.  Eye contact produces happy hormones which allow you to slow down and savor!

2) Eat when your body is hungry.

Know your signals for hunger, emotions & activities.

  1. Hunger signals are: growling stomach, fatigue, low blood sugar headache / spaciness or grumpiness.
  2. Emotional Signals are:  stress, sadness, loneliness, boredom
  3. Activity Signals are: vacations, holidays, birthdays, events, good news, bad news

3) Eat communally at purposeful times & places.

You’re the ‘king of your castle’!  You get to create your healthy eating environments.  Avoid eating straight from the food container & use smaller plates & bowls.  Fill your plate and put away leftovers before you eat.  Keep healthy high protein & fiber, low carb snacks available all the time.  Set up your ‘Salad Bar in the Fridge‘.  Cook your ‘Freezer Fiesta~ a month of meals in a day to save 19 hrs a month!‘  When we eat alone, randomly or sporadically, we sabotage ourselves.

4) Eat nutritionally dense foods that nourish you.

Some foods help you and others are emotionally manipulative.  Fried, sugary, salty and low protein foods rob us from feeling great & manipulate us into eating them by promising lots of pleasure.  Unfortunately, the ‘pleasure’ they provide is so short lived and the ‘pain’ they cause lasts for hours.  Eating them is like putting glue in your fuel tank.  We can tell ourselves stories about how certain health foods don’t taste good.  Yet, when we slow down to appreciate them, our stories can prove to be false.  Take the ‘savor my raison’ activity.  You look at the raison and probably think it won’t be that satisfying.  But, when you suck it, savor it, and see how long you can enjoy it in your mouth, you notice the sweet flavor.  It gets better the longer it’s in your mouth.  Give it some time to satisfy you.

5) Eat on purpose, with intention.

When we multi-task, we diminish our ability to pay attention to whether we’re nourishing ourselves or just shoveling it in.  Our bodies work so hard all day long.  Why do we spend longer making our bodies look good (hairstyle, makeup, outfits) than we spend to make sure we actually feel good?  Have you noticed that well nourished people naturally look better too?  And, they get to feel better the whole day long!  Choose to do this for yourself.  No one else can make this choice for you.

6) Eat gratefully, trusting your needs will be met without waste.

When we’re grateful, we stop grasping for more.  This is true with our eating habits as well as all other areas of life.  Many of us have developed a fear-based coping mechanism regarding food.  Some of us were punished as we grew up by being denied meals or being forced to eat foods we didn’t like.  Some were given unhealthy foods as ‘bribes’ for good behavior.  Others were forced to eat all the food on our plates even when we weren’t hungry instead of just saving the food for our next snack.  These actions can cause us to distrust that our real needs will be met regarding our food.  We’re afraid we won’t get nourished!  When we purposefully stop these behaviors, we’ll begin to trust that our needs will be met with our food.  We won’t waste food anymore by overeating and we’ll feel more satisfied.  The more we make a decision to nourish your bodies, the more we’ll trust our bodies to tell us what they need.  Believe me.

Truly, we don’t have to ‘diet’ to have a healthy weight.  When we refocus our attention on the right things, our bodies will respond.  Trust me.