Firstly, I want to wish you a very happy New Year. I hope that you enjoyed whatever it was you did last night to bring the new year in. Now there’s a good chance you’re lying in bed with a banging head. You’re also likely thinking about all the ways you’re going to ‘get healthier’, ‘become more organised’ and all round become a ‘better person this year’.
Rather than coming to you with a whole list of ways to get your diet back on track I thought I would get you thinking about how you’re eating.
2018 was a big year for gut health and mindfulness and 2019 is set to a big year for mindful eating.
Eating mindfully is allowing an open-minded awareness of how the food we choose to eat affects one’s body, mind and feelings.
I’m sure we’ve all been guilty on working through lunch that we haven’t even noticed that we finished the last bite. Eating mindlessly is when we eat whilst distracted and we’re not aware of the food we’re shovelling down. Mindless eating can impair the body’s ability to digest food properly.
Digestion starts long before you put the first bite into your mouth. The smells, the thoughts and the food preparation helps to stimulate the production of amylase in the mouth and digestive enzymes to help breakdown the food. This is known as the cephalic phase of feeding and it’s a crucial part to get the brain and the digestive system all on the same page.
When you eat mindlessly you’re much more likely to over eat as it takes longer for the brain to identify that you’re full. You’re also less likely to feel as satisfied from your food so you end up hunting for more which might not help when it comes to weight management.
The other issue with eating mindlessly is that there’s an increased risk that you won’t be absorbing nutrients as well if your digestive tract isn’t being as affective as it should be.
So how can you start focusing more on what you’re eating. Below I’ve listed my top 3 tips when it comes to eating more mindfully…
1. Remove distractions – TV, social media, phones, magazines, newspapers etc. are all huge distractions when it comes to eating mindlessly.
2. Focus – focus on the textures, flavours, aromas, any memories you might have when you think about that food. How it’s affecting the way you feel.
3. Stick to one eating place in the home – when we tend to eat in every room we’re much more likely to be distracted and eat more mindlessly. Stick to one room of your living space to help you associate that spot with food and avoid eating mindlessly elsewhere. Of course when you’re outside the home it can be a bit more difficult.
Bonus tip: STOP! It’s too normal to be working through lunch or on your way to a meeting. Start looking after yourself and putting time in to eat lunch (without any distractions). This can also help you to control stress throughout the day as you can take a step back and some time for yourself.
There you have my top tips on mindful eating. If you focus on one thing this year I would urge you all to eat more mindfully and start to notice how the food you’re eating really makes you feel!