Mindful Eating is Eating with Intention and Attention
Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food.
So, what is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention:
Eating with the intention of caring for yourself
Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body
As you can see, mindful eating is much more than “eating slowly, without distraction.” While that’s certainly an important part of it, mindful eating encompasses the entire process of eating:
Awareness of your physical and emotional cues
Recognition of your non-hunger triggers for eating
Learning to meet your other needs in more effective ways than eating
Choosing food for both enjoyment and nourishment
Eating for optimal satisfaction and satiety
Using the fuel you’ve consumed to live the vibrant life you crave
This broad application makes mindful eating a powerful tool for developing a healthier, happier relationship with food.
How does mindful eating help solve eating issues?
Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings. In other words, they re-act-repeating past actions again and again-feeling powerless to change. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions.
For example, whenever you notice that you feel like eating and pause to ask the question, “Am I hungry?”, you are able to observe your thoughts andchoose how you will respond. Instead of reacting mindlessly, mindfulness gives you response-ability. That is how mindful eating empowers you to finally break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.
Start asking yourself these questions about your eating:
Why do I eat? Or in other words, what is driving my eating cycle at any given time?
When do I feel like eating? When do I think about eating? When do I decide to eat?
What do I eat? What do I choose from all the available options?
How do I eat? How, specifically, do I get the food I’ve chosen into my body?
How much do I eat? How much fuel do I consume?
Where do I invest the energy I consume? Where does the fuel I’ve consumed go?
Knowledge is power. We will share all of the knowledge and experience we have to empower you to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle and help you on your path to a complete wellness experience - mind, body and spirit.
Are You Working Hard Enough?
Although any kind of physical activity is better than nothing, some workout plans are better than others in terms of overall effectiveness. While you may think you’re getting a good workout by spending an hour reading a magazine on the stationary bike, the truth is, if you’re leaving the gym with your make-up still perfectly intact, you’re probably not working hard enough.
But a fresh face isn’t the only way to tell you aren’t getting in a good gym session. If your workout isn’t working any more, one of these five reasons could be to blame.
You’re not monitoring your heart rate.
Whether you’re on a cardio machine or doing some high-intensity interval training (HIIT), your heart rate should fluctuate between 75% of your maximum when you’re just starting out, eventually building to 100%. (To roughly determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220). An easy way to track this is by using a heart-rate monitor that will let you know, in real time, where your heart is at. Some people mistake sweating to be the only indicator of working out hard enough, when in reality some people may just be more prone to sweating than others. A heart-rate monitor is simply the most effective way to gauge your intensity level. These days they’re easy to come by and definitely worth the investment. But if you don’t have one, go old school and stop to check your pulse halfway through your workout.
You can hold a conversation.
A leisurely stroll with a friend is a nice way to pass the time, but not if you expect that activity to help you lose weight. To put it simply, if you can hold a conversation during your workout, you’re just not working hard enough. Short phrases, perhaps, but if you’re able to belt out Taylor Swift while jogging, you need to reassess your workout plan (and maybe your level of shamelessness).
You’re not even a little sore the next day.
No pain, no gain. A good way to tell how hard you worked out is to wait 24 hours and see how you feel. When you exercise, you cause microscopic damage to your muscles. The muscles then adapt, repair themselves, and grow stronger. Basically, you should feel moderate soreness after a workout; if not, you probably didn’t stimulate your muscle enough to get results. (But not so sore that you can’t go about your regular routine.) Give yourself a day in between to rest and rebuild those sore muscle groups while you work another, alternating days so you don’t overwork one particular group.
You work out at the same intensity all the time.
Once you’ve been on a workout plan for a while and aren’t becoming as sore or tired, it might be time to up the intensity. If you want to gain lean muscle mass and definition, start adding more weight; if you’re using lighter weights to tone up, add some extra repetitions (Instead of 10-15 reps, try 25). If you’re doing cardio, try going a little faster or start incorporating more interval training into the mix. Because your body is constantly adapting, if you do the same thing over and over again, your body won’t be challenged enough to make a change. Be mindful that the more you work out, the more effort you’ll have to expend to keep making progress.
You’re not cross-training.
Not only do you need to change the intensity of your workout, but also the variety of what you’re doing. Get creative. Fit people don’t stick to one regimen, they cross train. If you’re doing the same set of squats and bicep curls day in and day out, you’re probably creating imbalances in your body (not to mention it’s just plain boring). Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Force yourself to be uncomfortable. If you’re a runner, add some free weights. If you only lift weights, try adding some yoga or Pilates into your routine to balance out your body’s ratio of strength and flexibility. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but start by challenging your body to do something it’s not used to doing.
You’re not seeing physical changes.
That’s not to say if you don’t see results after a week you should give up. After all, how long did it take for your body to get to where it is now? But if you’ve been consistently working out and eating healthfully for more than a few months and you haven’t noticed even a slight physical change—be it a number on the scale or inches lost depending on your fitness goals—then you might need to reassess your routine. It should be a slow progression if you’re doing it the right way, but a progression nonetheless.