Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mindful Eating 101

Mindful eating is my project of sorts. After talking to my nutrition counselor I realized this mindless overeating has become a serious issue for me as of late. I am glad she brought light to it so that I can really work at correcting this bad behavior before all of my hard work is undone. I am going to make a point to be more mindful when I eat. I have a bad habit of overeating especially when I'm not happy with my body or when I'm stressed.This behavior has to stop. I found a great site, eatingmindfully.com. Dr. Susan Albers had some great insight on Mindful Eating and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's easier to determine if you are a mindful eater if you know what mindful eating is. Here's a great breakdown from Dr. Albers site:

Mindfulness, and more specifically mindful eating, isn't a new concept. In fact, it is centuries old and based on the Eastern concept of mindfulness or “pure awareness.” If you are eating mindfully, you are aware and attentive to all dimensions of eating. It includes mindfulness of the mind, body, thoughts and feelings.

Mindful eating: is about being conscious of why you are eating. Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you bored?
( I've been known to do this a LOT!) There is no menu or recipes to follow. It's about learning HOW and WHY you eat, and less about WHAT you eat. When you are so closely in touch with what is going on inside, you know the exact moment you are satisfied rather than stuffed or starving. To understand the why, what, when and how we eat, we have to be compassionate and nonjudgmental. This allows us to take a closer look at our behavior.

MINDFULNESS of the MIND On a scale of 1-10, how aware am I at this moment? Am I tasting every bite or am I mindlessly chomping away? Observe the taste, texture, smell, and sound of food. This helps you to pay attention to what you are doing. Identify whether you are mindlessly snacking or in touch with every single bite.

Listen to your body. Do I pay attention when it says stop? Or, do I ignore my body's feedback. Identify how your body tells you it's hungry and full. Pay attention to hunger pains, a rumbling stomach, your energy level, movement, body posture and muscle tension. If you don't respond, your body could stop giving you important information about how it is doing. Learn to know the difference between emotional hunger (stress eating) and physical hunger.

MINDFULNESS of FEELINGS is noticing feelings that start and stop eating. Anxiety, guilt, stress, comfort, boredom and pleasure are just a few. It's important to get in touch with your emotions. If you don't get a handle on your feelings, Sometimes, coping with your feelings is more important that changing the type of foods you eat.

MINDFULNESS of THOUGHTS. Be mindful of your thoughts. Observe “should” and “should not” thoughts, critical thoughts (I'm so fat!), food rules, "good" and "bad" food categories. Notice how positive and negative thoughts sway your behavior. A thought is just a thought, you don't have to respond to it.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry myth suggests you eat what feels good in-the-moment and use food to de-stress, soothe emotions celebrate. Eating is routine and given little attention.

    •    Multitasking while eating (watch TV, drive, talk & eat)
(Didn't we talk about this? :)
    •    “Grazing” on food
    •    Routinely skipping breakfast or meals
    •    Ignoring hunger and body cues (stomach rumbling, low energy)
    •    Continue to eat although full (stuffing rather than satiating)
    •    Member of the “Clean Plate Club”
    •    Disregarding nutrition needs
    •    Avoiding physical symptoms of over or under eating
    •    “Live to Eat” rather than “Eat to Live”
( I've always wanted to be an Eat to Live girl)
    •    Use “Comfort Foods”
    •    Believe you have little or no control
    •    Shoulds and Shouldn'ts dominate eating

Eat, Drink & Be Mindful is being diligently attentive to your body, mind, thoughts and feelings as you eat. A conscious awareness and attention to food choices, body and nutritional needs. Nonjudgmental, accepting and compassionate toward yourself and others

    •    Nonjudgmental of self and food choices
    •    Fully in-the-moment while eating
    •    Focused attention. Able to bring attention back when it 

    •    Alert and observant of thoughts.
    •    Able to “let go” of critical thoughts and emotions without 

    •    Diligently watchful of pre and post eating feelings
    •    Food just is what it is rather than categorized as good and 

    •    Mindful eating is an ongoing journey
    •    Compassionate toward self and others
    •    Acceptance of self and body as you are

I hope this article helps all of you to become mindful eaters. Let me know what you think. After reading this do you think you may be a mindless eater? Have we as a society become too busy to slow down, enjoy our food and become more mindful of our meals? Sometimes I wish we could be more like Italy or other countries that still sit down, relax and savor their meals. Let's try it, together!



fitncrafty said...

I read the book Mindless Eating by Dr Wansink (hope I spelled it right) a few years back.
His research was spot on, and it is so true, we are hungry and just eat.. paying no attention to our bodies and how to nourish them.
It has helped me a lot in my own awareness.
Thanks for sharing your perspective! Great Post!

scrapwordsmom said...

I was so in need of this post. I am currently on the HCG program to overcome my bad eating behaviors. This plan is hard as I can have zero starches/carbs {just fruits for my carbs}. You are supposed to lose a ton of weight with this but I'm not and I am constantly hungry and thinking about food. It is all one vicious cycle to me and I am completely frustrated. My husband is doing the same plan...however he is just cutting back calories but still eating the carbs and he is LOSING! I am losing then gaining. *sigh*. I am at my wits end.

I have struggled with food my entire life and am so sick of it. I enjoy your blog...it truly does give me good advice. Sorry I was ranting. Thanks for listening!

Coby said...

This was really good! I am definitely an emotional eater, and tend to eat mindlessly throughout the day. Thank you for posting this!

Kelly Michelle said...

Great post. Thank you for sharing.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

great post nicole
yoga has taught me to be sooo mindful from moods, emotions, issues, to food, exercise, relationships...it's spilled over in a good way to everything

i miss our chats too :) life is just so busy and honestly, I am "computered out". i think you probably know that feeling when the park with child seems alot more fun than typing! haha!

anyway girl we are still in a holding pattern but hopefully will know something in a week or so....

fingers crossed.

shannonmarie said...

I need to work on that, too. I'm terrible about eating while multitasking or based on a craving/emotion.

Candice said...

Hello! I just randomly found your blog and am so excited to read your updates. And I too definitely am a mindless eater! I just eat and eat and eat (mostly raw).

This has been something I just recently started attempting to stop, so this was really refreshing for me to see. I'll have to check out that book! :)

TheFitnessFreak said...

Thanks Candice! I'm glad you like it : )

Yes, I am an awful mindless eater but am really trying to change. I'm glad I'm not alone in that!


Kristin said...

Love this information! Since losing 20 pounds for my wedding in 2007, I have been struggling with building a better image of my eating habits. I am trying to break away from the days of calorie counting (which I have realized only encourages overeating). Thank you for sharing this!

TheFitnessFreak said...

I hope it helps you Kristin! I know it helped me : )

scrapwordsmom said...

Nicole...I have a surprise for you on my blog today!! It is towards the end of today's post. Be sure and stop by to check it out!!


Mindy said...

I keep re-reading this post. I compleately agree with it. I've been contemplating what you said here and have even noticed talking about mindful eating with a few of my friends. it expresses the desire for change and improvement that people seek when they consider "diet" but in a wholistic, realistic and forgiving way that will support success instead of deprivation and self sabatoge!Keep up the great posts Nicloe! I love them!

TheFitnessFreak said...

I am so glad it was helpful to you Wendy : ) I have become much more aware of my food as well and it has really helped.

a taste of health with balance said...

I can really relate to this post in so many ways, and it was just what I needed to find at the moment. Thank you, and thank you for sharing! Love your blog, finally started one on my own, feel free to stop by if you can :)

TheFitnessFreak said...

I am so glad it was helpful to you Felicia! I know I struggle with it and I'm glad I can share what I have learned. I'm off to check out your blog!!



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