There is a problem with the current culture and habits of our food. As much as you may want to ignore this, it's true.
Currently, the Australian population is predominantly fat and overweight. 63% to be specific.
This isn't AN opinion -- this is a fact.
The world we live in is becoming more and more fast-paced, with each one of us trying to cram more 'stuff' into our lives.
- Doing more work, in less time (and then some more at home).
- Trying to take on more activities and engagements than we can actually handle.
- Attempting to get everything right with nutrition and the 'diet' side of things.
All of these commitments and appointments leave you with only a limited amount of *spare time* and resources at your disposal. With this lack of energy comes things like poor decision-making, lack of preparation and essentially running on 'auto-pilot'.
Auto-pilot is great, for doing mundane and unimportant tasks. But, for things that have a potential to shape your health and the way your body looks & feels -- like, eating -- not so much!
This is why we have such a big obesity problem here in Australia.
I don't feel like it's due to lack of information. Quite the opposite!
We now have access to more information than any other time in history.
What I do feel we are lacking in, is good habits and an awareness of our daily practices.
You know, things like;
- Slowing down to enjoy a meal.
- Creating a good sleep routine.
- Focusing on what's important. Not just what's in front of you.
This brings me to the premise of this article, 'Mindful Eating'.
I hope to shed some light on what mindful eating is, how it can benefit you and ways that you can incorporate it into your daily life.
If you are open to change and making slow, but, steady progress you should take the points that I bring up and put them into action.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is being aware of the food choices and decisions your are making on a regular basis. Some characteristics of Mindful Eating;
- You have carefully selected what, and how much of a certain food you will eat.
- You are paying attention to each meal -- noticing textures, tastes and aromas.
- You eat until the body is satisfied, NOT full. (For weight-loss, eat until 80% full)
- You put your utensils down in between mouthfuls, to enjoy each bite.
How can mindful eating benefit me?
Some of the benefits of applying mindful eating to your life;
- You start to understand the difference between hunger, boredom, thirst and other body signals.
- You eat less food, improve digestion and this can result in steady weight-loss.
- You will enjoy a higher quality of family time and have more established 'breaks' in your day/night.
- You start to put your health and nutrition at the front of your thinking, which improves your overall health and well-being.
Why is Mindful Eating important?
- You focus on the quality and quantity of food and how it responds to your body. You end up learning about the 'food spectrum' and what food does for you. (See below)
- It makes you aware of the foods you are eating, why you are eating them and how they alter the way your body tolerates them.
- It places you back in control of what choices are being made, rather than relying on what you did yesterday, and the 'auto-pilot' system.
So you see, when you slow down, pay attention and be mindful about food choices, good things happen.
You start to realise the reasons why the weight hasn't been coming off. Or, why your body isn't changing shape.
These aren't inherently 'bad' things, either.
If you can understand WHY this is happening, you now have ammunition and data to back up the reason for this.
Now, you can make the necessary changes and watch your body transform. Pretty cool, hey!
This is known as outcome-based decision-making. You can learn more about that, HERE.
Now that you are aware of Mindful Eating, I want to share with you 3 simple tips that you can (and should) instill into your daily food practices.
PS They're super simple!
Your 3 Action Items
1) Take your time to eat
- Don't rush. Give yourself 10-20 minutes to actually sit down -- without distractions -- to enjoy a meal.
- If you can't do that, you may want to look at changing your current routine, habits, or work structure to make this happen.
2) No technology or devices when eating.
- Technology is the biggest distraction in today's society. Between your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat scrolling, you amass close to 2 hours of unproductive time each day. For more accurate numbers, click HERE.
- Plus, technology also stops you from being aware of your body's hunger cues (signs). So, put the phone down, turn the TV off and just enjoy your meal.
3) Ask yourself, "Is this meal going to get me closer to my goals?" (Yes OR No?)
- If 'YES'. Well done! Keep doing what you're doing.
- If 'NO'. What can you do a little bit better, to make your next choice get you closer to your goal/s?
The reason that these 3 actions are so important is that it allows you to tune into your body's hunger levels. Also, when you eat quickly, the food doesn't register to your brain that it's 'full' -- this usually takes about 20 minutes. So, eat slowly and savour each bite of food.
There it is. Mindful eating, in a nutshell;
- Be aware
- Be conscious
- Be present.
Focus on what you're doing and have a bit of attention to detail about what and how much you're consuming. That way YOU are in control of your choices, not the auto-pilot.
Until next time,
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