Mindfulness was probably the biggest take-away I got from my trip to Bali. Learning how to be present in each moment, especially with meals was quite eye opening!
I’m the worst for eating without paying attention, it’s like I have some guilty complex around actually just sitting down to eat without also working, or scrolling instagram, or doing anything else. While I was travelling, every meal was an event and it was so much easier to sit down and purely focus on just the food. I realize this may not be attainable for a lot of people, but I urge you to give it a try for at least one meal a day! When I was gone I was amazed how when I tuned in; how much less I actually had. One day I ordered a salmon eggs benedict- and I was starving. I had it slowly and enjoyed every single bite and ate less than half! If I was on my phone I would have wolfed down the whole regular serving without a second thought. I was able to come back and get an awesome workout in cause I didn’t feel weighed down from a super heavy breakfast. Thats how I believe mindful and intuitive eaters can eat whatever they like- as long as they pay attention to their body!
I’ve been struggling with this since I’ve been home, as the ingrained habits take over and it’s hard to just sit down and relax and eat without doing something else. I’m really trying to make each meal mindful. (Although there are always setbacks, like today when I ate an entire box of rice crackers with barely realizing while I was working).
I think that when you are REALLY mindful when eating, it forces you to first of all realize “Do I even like this?” You’d be surprised! Naturally thin people often stop eating as the food starts to lose it’s taste. I realized that the first few bites of something taste amazing, and then it’s kind of neither here nor there. It makes it much easier to enjoy a few spoonfuls of something decadent instead of the entire cake when you slow down and pay attention to how your taste buds are feeling. I started reading the book “Mindful Eating” by Susan Albers while I was away and found the tips really great. I think it goes hand in hand with intuitive eating especially.
There are some basic tips such as:
1.) Make each meal special: Put in on a plate, garnish it if you have time, sit down with no distractions and just enjoy what you are eating.
2.) Chew each bite LOTS, & put your fork down in between each bite instead of shovelling in the next one!
3.) Think about how each bite tastes; what flavours are you picking up? Do you enjoy the texture? Is this satisfying what you were craving?
4.) Take a break halfway through the meal and check in with your hunger and satisfaction. You want to feel energized and light when you finish a meal, not heavy and tired and lethargic which can commonly happen when we overeat. I find it helpful to remember I can always come back to the meal later if I get hungry again!
Aside from eating- I found mindfulness to be really important in just anything you are doing- whether it be chatting with someone, sitting and reading a book, or working. How many different things are you doing right now while you read this blog post? Have you been texting, checking Facebook, eating dinner? (better not be!!)
I tried really hard while I was gone to just do ONE THING at a time. It’s been proven over and over again that multi-tasking doesn’t actually lead to greater productivity. For example- I’ve been writing this blog post for a week! I keep getting caught up in talking to clients, planning out my week, workouts, eating, working out, etc. I’m finally just sitting down with no phone and no other browsers open on the internet, and focussing until it is done!
Mediation has helped me find mindfulness more than I can ever describe. Taking 10-20 minutes per day to sit or lay down and actually listen to my thoughts made me realize how scattered my brain can really be throughout the day! Meditation is all about listening non-judgmentally to your thoughts and just letting them pass you buy. A good visualization I use is that I’m sitting on the beach relaxing on the sand- and my thoughts are the waves just passing by. The point is to recognize them without getting caught up in them (ie: don’t go out and swim in the waves). It takes a lot of practice, but when you can successfully do this it is pretty amazing! I love the “Calm” app I’ve used it basically every day for almost 2 years now! I paid for the upgraded version which I highly recommend- there are soooooo many different meditations for focus, energy, happiness, relaxation, sleep, anxiety, calm, commuting, loving-kindness, non-judgemental, compassion, confidence.. and so many more. Try it!
So I encourage you to start thinking about mindfulness in your daily life. Try just doing one small task at a time and really focussing on it until its done. It helps you feel a lot more clear and calm and organized!
Do you guys eat mindfully? Let me know in the comments below if you found this made a difference for you!