Did you know that our hunger is mostly controlled by our thoughts telling us that we are hungry even when we are actually not. Especially when we are busy running around facing day by day challenges, like going through all the social media notifications on our smartphone, being awesome, smile all day, doing epic shit and rocking the 30 day AB challenge, we have this automatic pilot that takes control over us and decides our eating pattern.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have the time to have a nine-course dinner and cover the table with my finest tableware to have a quiet and peaceful meal. But in order to make sure we eat healthy and nurture or body, we need to take more time and clear our mind, otherwise we tend to over eat ourselves. Mindful eating is a practice that could help us change our eating pattern. Continue reading if you want to know more about mindful eating and how we can take control over our (food) thoughts and cravings!
Why do we like to eat all the time?
When we were little Fit Girls and Boy’s we learned that when we were hungry that we would feel bad, low in energy and even sad sometimes. Then we got nurtured by our parens and they gave us food and in a few minutes we started to feel better again. So, since we were children we were comforted with food. Not only because our body needs it to survive, but also to comfort our mind.
In countries where for most of us we have easy access to food it isn’t actually an issue and it makes perfect sense that we reach out for food again and again and again to make ourselves feel better when we experience stress or had a tough day.
This means ever since we were young we have developed a relationship with food and how eating comforts us. So if you start to think about it, it means that what we are actually hungry for is not related to metabolism or digestion (but comfort and feeling good).
Why do we trick ourselves with food?
Our mind has a great influence in our behaviour. Like during our work-outs, when you think you can’t finish but you give your cute butt an extra push, you will overrule your mind habit that has been telling you that you got out of your comfort zone and wants you to stop. Most of the time we are not aware how these habits of the mind inform us and leads our behaviour. The mind habits do help us when we are busy with our life challenges and therefore our mind manually takes care of signals of the body like need of comfort, need of energy or need of sugar (which is an addiction of the body, read more about this body-drug in the article “You’re addicted to sugar and it’s killing you” of #FITGIRLCODE ambassador Morgan Klieber).Our mind chooses not to live without these mind habits because it is only this way how it knows to survive.
Our busy mind vs. eating in peace with focus
The choice to eat a whole bag of jelly candy bears doesn’t come from the candy, but is comes from us, from our minds telling us we need it or the mind is too busy with other things than stopping us from eating when we’ve had enough. If you can get aware of these mind habits and start thinking about the influences these habits have on our eating pattern, you can take back control. Most of the time we don’t take the time to eat in peace, focus on our eating and explore the full experience of food. Since we are so busy we combine activities while eating. These are the four common things we do while eating:
1. Watching television
2. Engaged in conversation
3. Reading a magazine / book / social media
4. Listening to music
People doing others things while they are eating weigh 18% more than people focussing on eating.
The following contributes to us overeating and gaining weight:
– The size of the plate determines how much food we eat and not how much food our body needs.
– We prepare our meal when we are most hungry and therefore add more food on our plate.
– When we are engaged in other activities while eating our mind is elsewhere and eating will be done on the auto pilot. Which means we eat too fast and don’t chew enough, too much since we don’t pay attention to the signals of the body that we’ve had sufficient an clean our plates when we are actually satisfied.
We can’t and don’t choose anything on an auto pilot, the auto pilot decides for us from the habit. If we act out of habits we don’t fully experience the whole proces of eating and continues to repeat our habits.
Take over controle
We need to kick that auto pilot’s ass so that we can stop overeating, eating too fast, letting mind habits influence our eating pattern and makes room for awareness. This awareness starts with the acknowledgement that these mind habits are just thoughts, nothing more and nothing less. Because we think that our thoughts are always true, but in reality we have many thoughts that are not true. Like in reality, our thoughts only have as much truth as we choose to give them.
When we eat with awareness we can choose how we eat, how much to eat and be aware when our bodies have sufficient rather then simply cleaning our plate. Choice is only enabled through awareness.
How to practice mindful eating
Mindfulness can help you learn to thrive in your experiences and not just survive with the automatic pilot of your mind habits. Mindfulness is about the present and full experience of the sensation.Practising mindful eating would comprise of:
– Slow it down (make the time to sit and eat your meal in an relax pace)
– Experience your food (what does it look like, how does it smell, what do I feel when I eat it)
– Fully appreciate the basic activity of eating your meal and drinking your drink without doing other things
– Exploring the present moment with asking yourself the following questions:
Am I hungry?
Where do I feel hunger?
What part of me is hungry?
What to I really crave? (comfort of does my body need nutrition)
What am I tasting just now?
Mindful eating takes a lot of practice, you will not immediately have it under control but keep in mind that you will benefit of this way of eating. In order to change your eating pattern you have to change these habits which will be hard, almost as hard like those damn pull ups in the gym :p. So always ask yourself the question; am I really hungry or do I “think” I am hungry?
“I’m practising mindful eating… One bite of chocolate at a time”
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