Recently we heard a fantastic blog by Laura Tilt all about mindful eating. Now…we are well aware that mindfulness is all the rage for Instagram stars who preach its virtues and celebrate its benefits. Which is all well and good when you’re 25, stick thin and earn your money by posting glamorous pictures on social media. But, when you’re in your 30s and balancing being a mum/career it’s not necessarily the highest of priorities. Let’s be honest our self-care regime involves slapping on a face mask and having a bubble bath if we’re really lucky.
However, mindful eating doesn’t need to be the reserve of social media influencers, far from it. It is something we should all be practicing and can do. It essentially means being present for each and every mouthful you eat – have you ever bought a bag of popcorn and without even realising inhaled all the contents? Or make yourself a plate of pasta and before you knew it, your plate is completely empty? Don’t worry we’ve all been there…eating is rarely an arduous process and without meticulous care, it can be so easy to devour entire packets/baking mixes/the list goes on and on….The speaker calls it “eating amnesia” and it is something we are all far too aware of. Particularly in our society where food is literally everywhere…there is nowhere to hide. It can also often just be habit….when you reach for that cup of tea also going for a biscuit or after a long day of work aching for a glass of wine.
Mindful eating asks you to be aware of everything you eat. Rather than eating on autopilot – instead when eating you try to be aware of each and every bite. More than that, you eat only to the point that you are satisfied. Interestingly, we actually have quite a lot to learn from babies in this area. When a baby feeds, once full, they will simply turn their head – indicating that they don’t want any more food. The problem is as we grow older we unlearn this important skill. Instead often when eating we simply finish our plates before even registering whether or not we are full, this can happen particularly when eating whilst doing another activity – watching TV for example. Instead, when you are more mindful you stop when you are full and try to gauge precisely how much food you realistically need, only putting on your plate the food you want and need to eat. Ever left a Shabbat meal feeling that dull, heavy throbbing in your stomach and as if your skirt is about to split? This should, hopefully, end that sensation. In fact, as Jews our calendars are always pretty full with– Shabbat, Bar/Bat Mitzvah/the dreaded three day Yom Tov.
When trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle this can mean mentally preparing yourself in much the same way as an army general. Before even going to a meal, have a think about how much you’ve eaten that day and how hungry you actually are, based on this decide precisely how much you want to put on your plate. To offer up a personal example a few weeks ago I (Anna) went to a Friday night meal and before I even ventured into the dining room I had a serious think about how much food I was going to eat. Yes, this may seem rather extreme, but it is all part and parcel of mindful eating. It is so easy to lose track of what you’re putting in your mouth without even realising it. With hosts often serving in a buffet style we would advise only taking the food you actually should be eating – all that lovely protein and those delicious vegetables. Fill up your plate and then stop eating once you are full. Easier said than done….we know. Often, we don’t even register that we are stuffed until it is too late. So, try and be conscious of the moment you are satisfied. This should change your mindset from eating till near explosion and stopping when you are actually full. Not only should it help you enjoy your food far more, but it should also help prevent those pounds from creeping up.
Of course, often we buy the packet of popcorn or make a warming bowl of pasta as a reaction to a certain emotion – sadness, nerves, fear or even happiness. It is no exaggeration to say we eat our feelings.
If you have any more questions or would like to discuss nutrition feel free to give us a call on 07815 209 112 or drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Tilt is a UK Registered Dietitian, health writer and columnist for Women’s Health Magazine. With ten years of experience in nutrition science, Laura is passionate about helping people develop healthier, happier relationships with food.
Over the last two years, Laura has studied the benefits of mindfulness for weight loss, discovering that it has the power to transform relationships with food and eating, offering freedom from dieting and eating anxieties! Come along and find out how mindfulness can help you break the yo-yo diet cycle, and learn some simple techniques that will help you tune into your inner nutritionist.
We have invited Laura to run the first in a series of aceWorkshops for us on “Mindfulness and the Secrets of Fat Loss” (15th January 2018). We have ONLY 40 tickets available so book now to avoid disappointment.