By Heather Hamilton, PhD., LMHC, NCC, DCC | ©2022BreakThrough!
In today’s hectic world it’s easier than ever to slip into poor eating habits that lead to prediabetes, obesity, and other health-related problems. The good news is that WE CAN RECOVER! We simply need to slow down and be mindful of whether we are eating intentionally to improve our mental health and address weight problems. The explosion of fast food and convenience stores has enabled us to eat on the run. But while this may align with our career or other demands, it’s hard on our health. To regain health it’s time to shift our consumption toward freshly prepared foods free of preservatives, chemicals, and ingredients that confuse our brain and result in weight gain.
Clever and Flashy Marketing
Healthy nutritious food doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. At the core of mindful and intentional eating is learning new shopping habits:
- Avoid shopping when you’re hungry
- Have a plan place before entering the store
- Avoid the temptations of clever end-stacks, 3-for-1 deals, and strategically targeted marketing
There’s an old belief that shopping the outside perimeter of a grocery store is typically healthier. In other words, shopping in the produce and dairy sections as opposed to the cluster of center aisles where most of the canned, processed and packaged foods are located. Another strategy might be to shop locally, make smaller purchases and focus on the size or portions of servings.
Eating with Intention Improves Food Absorption and Overall Nutrition
Enjoying food in a mindful way can be as simple as eating with all of the senses. Focusing on the food that you’re consuming and how it nurtures your body can help circumvent emotional eating. Slowing down the eating process can aid digestion and result in better food absorption and improved overall nutrition. More importantly by slowing down, the stomach can signal your brain that you’re full and help curb over-eating tendencies. Make a point to sit down for meals however short, and give yourself a break from distracting electronic devices and background. noise.
Now, Let’s BreakThrough!
The following Mindful Eating Exercise is from Eat Mindfully to Lose Weight. Grab a piece of paper and a writing tool to begin!
Mindful Eating Appreciation Exercise
Think back to a meal you had earlier today or better yet; yesterday.
What did you have to eat?
Can you describe the colors, the placement of food on the plate?
How about the textures?
Was the food warm enough?
How was it flavored?
Did you add anything to it?
Did you think about where it might have been grown or harvested?
Where did the food come from?
Did you feel good eating the meal?
Was there appreciation for the quality of the food?
Any feelings of gratitude or thankfulness?
If you ate with a companion, did they enjoy their meal?
Did they have the same thing or something different?
What did you notice about their food?
Do they like something you have never tried?