You may have heard of mindfulness but what does it actually mean?
Mindfulness is an ancient buddhist practice. It’s a technique which focuses on bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. Mindfulness is now used in psychology to help treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders and many more.
As modern day first worlders we are constantly busy. You’ll probably find yourself most of the time, thinking about what you’re doing next. Or at 3pm. Or tomorrow. This means we don’t spend a lot of time living in the present moment.
We can all be greedy emotional eaters. You might only do it sometimes or you might do it often, but at some point we have all eaten something we didn’t really need because of the way we felt. This of course, is a problem if you are trying to lose weight. Learning to eat more mindfully can really help with your weight loss. Below are some tips to get you started.
Are you eating because you are hungry or are you emotionally eating?
Mindfulness is all about listening to your body and how it feels. A lot of the time we eat to respond to emotional signals. Feelings of stress, upset or boredom are often reasons we grab something to eat.
What we should be listening for are physical signals of hunger. Is your stomach growling? Do you feel light headed? These are usually signs of physical hunger and the ones we should be listening for. Get to know your own physical symptoms of hunger and try to eat only in response to this. Every time you eat ask your self ‘am I eating because I’m hungry or because I’m sad/stress/Lonely ?’ Try to only eat when you are physically hungry.
Tackle the ’20 minute signal.’
Now I’m sure at some point you’ve eaten a meal and still felt hungry straight afterwards and someone (probably your mum) has said to you ‘ It takes 20 minutes for your belly to tell your brain it’s full blah di blah.’ Sorry but mum is right ( mums are actually pretty much always right, annoyingly). So, by slowing down with your food you can give your brain a chance to catch up with your belly and know it’s full. How can we do that? Sit down to eat. Chew each mouthful 20 times before swallowing. Put your knife and fork down In-between bites. Drink water with your meals.
Do you eat whilst you’re doing something else such as watching tv or scrolling through your phone? This can make it hard for you to listen for your body’s signals about whether you are full or not. So next time you sit down to eat, turn the tv off and put the phone down. Just focus on your meal and nothing else. Take the time to enjoy what you are eating and try to really focus on the taste, textures and smells of your food. Make sure you are eating in a good environment, try to sit at the table with a plate, not standing up out of a container.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Remember that mindfulness, or any other form of meditation can take you a while to get your head around it properly. Start by incorporating these tips just once per day then work up from there!
Any questions feel free to drop me a message.