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Mindful Eating 101

Mindful Eating: "paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment. An approach to food that focuses on individuals' sensual awareness of the food and their experiences of the food."

Recently I have started mindfully eating, and it has made my food experience much more enjoyable. Making conscious decisions about my meals instead of dieting allows me the freedom to enjoy my food; I am released from the shame attached to eating something not considered healthy. See below some of the questions I ask myself when preparing my plates:

1. Honor my body and its signals: I ask myself, where does my hunger originate from? If it is from my stomach, then I know I am actually hungry, and my body needs energy; or is my desire to eat coming from my head, meaning an emotional need of mine is not being met. I want to satisfy the need for food. Asking ourselves this small but essential question helps us take control of our eating habits.

2. Discover satisfaction and respect: Am I listening when my body is telling me we are full? Or am I forcing my body to take in excess energy? This question really involves pausing in between bites and savoring your food.

3. How does this food provide nourishment?: I ask myself, what am I feeding my body? Am I being intentional about eating foods that will give me the energy to get through my day? And if I'm not, then why did I decide to eat this, and how much of it will I have? I want to clarify that these questions are not about producing shame. In fact, it is the opposite. I love eating, and I love to enjoy what I eat. Still, it is essential to know what is driving the decision behind why I chose a particular item and if I decided something that is "not healthy," am I being mindful of my portion size and how often I will consume that food.

4. Am I being kind to myself?: This is the most crucial question. No one will be 100% perfect, nor will you be mindful EVERY time you eat. Somedays, you are not going to feel like it, and that is okay. Forgive yourself and start again. Mindfulness eating can help you gain control over your eating habits, but you do not have to be perfect.

Happy Meal Planning!

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