Mindful Eating: 3 Ways to Start Eating Consciously
Hello, savvy reader! You may have read a bit about Mindful Eating, and now, you wonder, how can I start?
As women in menopause or even perimenopause, most of us search for ways to enhance our changing bodies, minds and lives. Life is on overdrive, as a sandwich generation of ladies looking for better health, and yes, worrying about middle weight gain as much as middle age.
Like we don’t have enough on our plate at 50 plus.
Although Mindful Eating has had studies show that it can be a weight management tool, my philosophy is NOT weight centred. I am person centred. When I work with someone, I look at all the ways they can nourish themselves. Holistic does mean whole, after all.
And when we work on ourselves as a whole, ESPECIALLY AT MIDLIFE, our bodies become less stressed, our lives are happier, and we settle into our natural weight setpoint.
We can handle things better when LIFE GETS HECTIC.
We already race around from work, to home, to caring for parents, and maybe still some kids.
And HELLO, who is letting the dog out?
This is modern living, and with all this rushing, we miss a lot.
I am a person who has functioned in this race-miss-race cycle for most of my life.
I feel like I missed moments with my daughter, my parents, and at 50 plus, moments with MYSELF. Like, where did I go to?
When you slow down, life can become calmer and CLEARER.
Yes, that’s right, CLEARER.
When we slow down, even a bit, stop and smell the roses as they say, we can actually SEE the path the roses grow on!
We also see ourselves more clearly.
We become AWARE.
When we are aware, we can see our patterns, thoughts, behaviours AND notice how they make us feel. We notice how they affect our lives. At middle age, we are thinking about how we can CHANGE our lives, for the better!
Think of it like this:
You race out of the office, barely grabbing your purse, because your need to hit the grocery store.
You still have to drop said groceries at home, before you head on over to your parents. It’s your night to check in on them. You get to the store, pick up the things you need, and on impulse, grab a bag of chips.
You tell yourself that you will only eat a few, just to take the edge of your hunger off. You didn’t eat lunch. You plan to grab a quick dinner at home before you head out again.
You alternate between sitting in traffic and racing through traffic to get home on time. You’re thinking about all the things ahead of you that evening, while having your few chips.
EXCEPT YOU ATE THE WHOLE BAG.
How did THAT happen???
Mindless eating is NORMAL, especially in our crazy, busy, midlife woman lives. We ARE distracted, multitasking to get stuff done and scrolling Facebook to numb out. We may barely notice if we are hungry or full.
All this racing affects our digestion, sleep, relationships and SUPER IMPORTANT: our self esteem.
Many people melt food and feelings together, We say, "I feel like a bag of chips" when we are at the grocery store. No we don’t really feel like a bag of chips. We feel stressed, angry, tired, over hungry or sad.
We want to eat a bag of chips because we ARE feeling something. The first tip to start eating mindfully is to look at what you’re FEELING before you decide to eat, before you even decide WHAT to eat.
Here are the 3 ways you can start eating, Mindfully.
Take a moment to identify your feelings
In my miniseries, I go through steps to become aware of your feelings. Food, like alcohol and shopping, can be used to NOT feel something uncomfortable. We have trained ourselves to turn to food, to make us comfy. And sometimes that’s just what we need. Hello, COMFORT FOOD (insert favourite food here).
It wasn't until I faced my feelings, that the mindless stuffing of feelings started to diminish.
Try and identify the events that led to the feelings in the first place.
Acknowledging the events of the day that triggered the feelings, and maybe some over eating, is another step to CONSCIOUS EATING. Be kind and supportive to yourself as you do this. You are human, and you are allowed to feel whatever it is in this moment. It needs to be honoured. We can't deal with what we can't acknowledge.
Acknowledgement is also brave, and scary.
Ask yourself if you are truly hungry.
Is your tummy making noise? Do you feel that gnaw of real hunger in your stomach. Are you hungry for friendship at a social event and not the appetizers?
It takes some time to tune into your body’s feelings of true hunger. We can’t do this if we aren’t slowing down, and listening in to ourselves, even for a few minutes. Sometimes thats all it takes.
We also lose the ability to listen to our hunger if we have been dieting, and going off the diet, for many of our 50 plus years.
Only you can know what you need in any given moment. Need help with figuring that out?
Join my free community of Conscious Eaters HERE in Mind, Meet Food and lift yourself up. It’s your turn!
Interested in trying Mindful Eating? Download my Free 5 part Mindful Miniseries (short, short videos!) HERE!
Be well ladies, but above all be HAPPY!