Mindful Eating - Engage Mind and Body
This month we are sharing ideas to help you with the mind/body connection for your best life (see more here https://wendybottrell.weebly.com/blog).
Diving into how we see and develop our deeper mind/body connection has been what we have committed to working on this year. There have been wonderful things happen and a few challenges. Yet, it has been a great year as we continue to practice growing a strong mind/body connection. Today we want to share some ideas on mindful eating – how to help you engage mind and body.
Consider this quote by James Allen:
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state.” - James Allen, Author of As A Man Thinketh
We know the connection between the mind and body is powerful. When the mind and body are fully engaged and working in sync, they support optimal health. While the body uses food as fuel, the mind chooses the foods that the body consumes. Mindful eating is a perfect way to engage the mind and the body and create harmony.
“Engaging mindfulness encourages complete engagement with life.”—Gaylon Ferguson
Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to food - engaging with it, consuming it, and experiencing it in a highly mindful way.
Mindful eating is less about nutrition and more about the experience the mind and the body have surrounding the entire eating process.
Mindful eating comes from the Buddhist concept of mindfulness.
Mindful eating can help close the gap between the mind and body by creating an awareness of cues like hunger, fullness, cravings, and how food feels during eating and in the body.
One of the practices we have started this year is fasting. We started with intermittent fasting between 12 – 18-hour fasts. This has helped us feel better than we have in a long time. And over the past month, we have done a couple of 24-hours fasts which is something I for one never thought I would be able to do. It has been an interesting experience to become aware of things like how I feel when fasting, the feeling of hunger for example and not giving in to the feeling has been empowering. Fasting has definitely been an important practice in our mind/body connection and the awareness of how we feel with hunger, fullness, cravings for example.
Nowadays the world is moving so fast, there is little time to be mindful about eating. Food is served through windows on the go and gobbled down in front of computer screens and television sets. Eating is less about health and more about convenience.
Mindful eating can help reconnect the mind and the body with the experience of nourishment for health purposes rather than convenience.
A couple of ideas for beginning a mindfulness eating practice
Pay attention to hunger signs. There are two types of hunger - physical and emotional. Eating for physical reasons is about fueling our bodies for energy and health, whereas eating for emotional reasons may include poor choices like sugar, junk food, highly processed foods. Pay attention to hunger cues and notice why you feel hungry and what your body is asking for.
Sit at the table and pay attention to your senses. Sitting at a designated spot for your meals, away from distractions and designed for mealtime, will make your meals more meaningful. Also, pay close attention to your senses. How does your food look, smell, taste, and feel? The goal is to connect the experience your mind and your body are having with your meal.
Notice any effects the food has on your feelings. Some people have associations with food that don’t serve them. Feelings like guilt, shame, and pain go hand-in-hand with eating for them.
As you are more mindful, notice the feelings you have about what you are eating and how you are eating. Try not to judge your feelings. Rather, simply notice them.
Mindful eating is an excellent way to create a close mind and body connection. Being present with eating and thoroughly connected to the process is a wonderful way to get the mind and body in sync.
“Mindfulness means seeing things as they are, without trying to change them. The point is to dissolve our reactions to disturbing emotions, being careful not to reject the emotion itself.” —Tara Bennett-Goleman
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We have outsourced our lifestyle for way too long!