This post is all about mindful eating. In our modern, stressful, and chaotic world, we are seeing chronic health issues like weight gain, moodiness, and low energy becoming commonplace — and all three of those symptoms are related to what we eat and how we eat. We all want to eat healthier and look and feel our best, but how can we do it?
Well, the simplest and most affordable solution isn’t to go on a diet but to instead practice mindful eating. In this post, you’ll learn what it really means to eat mindfully, plus one practical strategy you can implement today to improve your health, weight, and wellbeing.
Why Practice Mindful Eating?
If you’re not eating well, then you won’t feel your best. This will impact your mood, weight, energy levels, and digestion.
And, if we’re not eating the right foods, then we’re not getting the nutrition we need. How we eat also determines if we’re able to properly digest and absorb the nutrients from our foods.
Now, you’ve probably heard the term “mindful eating” before because mindfulness is a big word today. But you may wonder how it can help you, specifically.
Here are three big reasons to practice mindful eating:
- You will help your body better digest and absorb nutrients
- You will identify what foods are most nutritious for you
- You will manage your weight, health, and energy without crash dieting
And you may even enjoy your food more as you begin to practice doing this as well.
How to Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating, simply put, means you are aware of what you’re eating.
In practice, it looks a bit like this:
- Eat slowly
- Be aware of what you’re eating
- Don’t have distractions (don’t look at your phone!)
- Chew your food twice as long as what you’re used to
- Enjoy your food
These are all parts of mindful eating. You are present with your food and meal and taking your time with it, staying aware and mindful. And that’s all very helpful.
But people often try this and then they forget to do it, or it just doesn’t have the big effect that they’re looking for. They might be looking for a greater weight loss, mood boost, or increase in energy and they’re simply not seeing it.
So how to have the big effect?
There’s one other strategy I suggest you try!
One Simple Strategy That Will Improve Your Eating Habits
This is something you don’t normally hear about when it comes to mindful eating, and it’s very simple to do. It’s called journaling.
But not just any kind of journaling, you want to journal specifically about what you’re eating and how you feel.
There are two basic steps to starting this practice:
- Every morning when you wake up, notice how you feel.
- Every night before you go to bed, write out what you ate that day.
You’ll usually remember what you ate before you go to bed or right after dinner.
So you don’t have to write in the journal all day long or for every meal.
But sometime later in the day, you write out what you ate that day. That’s it. No judgment.
Just write out what you ate.
- Did you have chips?
- Did you have cookies?
- What did you have for dessert?
- What was your protein?
- What were your vegetables?
- What was your salad?
- What was your salad dressing?
Just write it out. What does that do?
That magnifies your awareness of what you eat.
This first step is important because it allows you to pay attention and simply observe, without judgment, what you are eating.
It is always our intention — although we don’t always follow our intention — to eat in a healthy way.
But you’re certainly not going to hide how many cookies you ate from yourself, because nobody’s going to read this food journal. It’s just for you. You just get in the habit of writing it out every day. “Today, I ate this and this and this and this.” That’s one part of it.
The next part is what really helps you get the most out of this exercise…
The Easy Mindful Eating Morning Practice
In the morning, after you wake up, write out how you feel, and that’s it.
Just become aware of what you ate that you wrote the night before, and how you feel the next day, in the morning.
- I feel good in the morning.
- I feel tired. My eyes are baggy.
- I didn’t sleep well. I was restless.
- I’m kind of anxious or a little depressed.
- I’m high energy.
- I feel good. I had a great night’s sleep.
So then when you wake up and think “Oh my gosh, I’m feeling better. I wonder why,” you can also see, right when you write out how you’re feeling in the morning, what you ate last night. And that’s all you do!
That’s mindful eating — being mindful, increasing your awareness of what you eat because you had to remember it and write it down. Otherwise, if you don’t have the intention to remember it, it gets forgotten.
And then if you don’t feel so good in the morning, or…
- you’re kind of moody, or
- you have low energy, or
- you’re noticing you’re gaining weight…
…you know why.
This simple practice will help you stay intentional and make choices that help you look and feel your best.
And you don’t have to do anything more, because your brain is like a massive computer. Your brain regulates your heart, breath, digestion, muscle tension, and more. Everything’s being massively controlled.
So all you need to do is, with greater awareness, link up 1) what you ate and 2) how you feel in the morning.
Watch. You’ll start eating better food. You’ll be more mindful when you eat. You’ll be aware that you’re eating good food that makes you feel good in the morning. Or, you’ll be aware when you’re eating food that sometimes makes you feel awful.
If you drink alcohol, make sure to write out how much alcohol you drink.
If you eat lots of desserts, write down how many desserts you had.
Often, we try to muscle our way into health or weight loss by disciplining ourselves to avoid certain foods to eat in a more healthy way. But that can backfire.
If we tell ourselves that we’re not allowed to have cookies because they’re “bad,” that can create even more allure and addiction around these unhealthy foods.
But keeping a mindful eating journal is so easy to do if you’ll do it. Then, automatically your brain is going to start making more positive choices: picking healthier food and eating healthier amounts that will support you at your ideal weight. You will start feeling good and enjoy more energy. And you won’t have to muscle your way through it or judge yourself harshly for what you are eating.
This is a very practical thing. I highly recommend the simple practice of mindful eating.
Grow in love,