Last week, I spoke about 2 new ways of approaching your daily movement and eating habits. Look it up here, in case you missed it- On writing, from keystone habits to some compassionate advice.
In today's post, I will share with you 2 more ways/ strategies/ practices, whatever you wish to call them, that you can explore to stay on course with the path of healthy eating.
Practice 1 : Use eating/ drinking times as opportunities to practice 'Mindfulness’
What is Mindfulness ?
Mindfulness is simply accepting the present moment as it is without any judgement.
It is also to be more fully present with our immediate experience by engaging in it with all of our senses and not getting lost in thoughts of the past or actions to be taken in the future while we are engaged in the experience.
How does practicing mindfulness help?
Mindfulness enriches our lives as it allows us to experience our life more fully. It is a great tool to manage stress as being present in the moment keeps our minds free from anxieties (which come from thoughts of the future) & regrets (which come from dwelling on the past). We also become more aware of how our thoughts create suffering & can begin to learn to watch them without getting too caught up with them.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." - W.B. Yeats
How practicing mindfulness with your meals can help you?
Being present with the food on your plate & involving all of your senses can help you enjoy the experience of eating, develop a better capacity for listening to your body & know when you are satiated so you can stop eating.
How to go about it ?
Step 1 : Take a few moments to connect to your breath before you start to eat / drink. As you take a couple of conscious breaths, set the intention to be mindful with your meal / drink. You may forget doing this initially. But keep reminding yourself and soon you will find that the pause before the meal becomes automatic.
Step 2 : Try your best not to multitask. Preferably no gadgets or distractions while eating. Try to focus on the food on the plate.
Step 3 : Challenge yourself to involve as many senses as possible into the experience of eating - see what you are seeing (colors on the plate), hear what you are hearing (the crunch of the food in your mouth), feel what you are feeling (the texture of the food on your plate), taste what you are tasting (taste of the food in your mouth), & smell what you are smelling (smell of the food on your plate)
Step 4 : When you just start out with mindful eating, look at reflecting on your experience. You can journal in your diary on how you felt being more present with your meal.
Soon all of this will become second nature, as with every repetition, you would be training your mind. If initially, practicing mindfulness with all your meals feels challenging, then just start with one. You can slowly add more.
Practice 2 : Learn to say "No" to what doesn't serve the interests of your goals for your body.
No food is forbidden when enjoyed in moderation. We live in a culture with lots of festivals, & food is an integral part of them. Overeating has become common and you might often find yourself amidst friends and family members overindulging and expecting you to do the same.
Know that you do not have to. Keep your goals and interests of your body in mind. And learn to say no to gluttony. It does not serve you. Maybe you make an exception to the rule but make sure the norm is always 'moderation'. Anytime you overeat, take a moment to reflect on how your body feels.
By all means, be gentle with yourself, but also be firm. Firm in your intention to support your body so it serves you better.
I hope you will adopt these 2 practices in the coming weeks, months & years and see if they help you move forward in your journey to better health and well being. Feel free to drop a mail or comment on this post if you have anything to share in this regard. I would love to hear from you.