Thursday, August 8, 2013

Think About It (5 guidelines for mindful eating)

Since I am currently very interested in mindfullness and mindful eating, I decided to focus on challenging my own mind.  I came across a 21 day meditation challenge on facebook, so I decided to partake.  It is hosted by none other than Oprah and Deepak Chopra.  Today is day 4, and since one of my Day Zero goals was to meditate every day for a month, I will aim to continue past the 21 days to Sept. 5.

I definitely have wandering thoughts and am still struggling with deep focus for a mere 15 minutes, but I hope I will see a significant change after the month and perhaps even have a new habit to carry on with in my wellness journey (that's my life).  I've also been attending a local Yin class with 2 friends in an attempt to focus (and increase my flexibility).  I have a pile of books on mindfulness and a few courses I hope to take in the future.

Being present and content is a challenge for me - I'm an achiever, so I'm always looking for the next thing on my to do list.  Enjoying food also means being in the moment and enjoying the tastes, smells, textures, ambiance, and company you're with.  We have created a fast food culture where family meals are not common, meals occur in vehicles or in front of televisions instead of at the table, and we want it now!

Dietitian Lindsey Mazur recommends taking a deep breath before eating and asking yourself questions to help stay in the moment: Do I really like what I'm eating? Will what I'm eating nourish me? Am I eating it out of habit or because I'm truly hungry? Am I able to stop eating when I feel satisfied rather than stuffed?

5 guidelines to help create mindfullness:
Lava cake from Simon's Fine Foods class - dessert to savour
  1. Ask questions - such as those listed above, or where the food came from (farmer's market, Asian recipe, etc.), or what's in the meal (if you didn't make it)
  2. Avoid distractions - turn off electronic devices and have a conversation!
  3. Look at each item - take time to consider the presentation of your meals, set the table, make it an enjoyable experience and fill the plate with a variety of colours and textures of food. 
  4. Savour each bite - see what ingredients you can detect and slow down (this is where you need to be right now).
  5. Keep practicing - you might be falling back to old habits, so just re-set and start enjoying each bite again (remember that change takes time - and can be hard!)
Mindful eating can help create a positive relationship with food (rather than a cycle of diets, restrictions, and binges).  It also falls into the area of wellness with a focus on healthy eating and enjoying what you're eating rather than worrying about what the scale tells you.  Focus on your health, making food a priority, and nourishing your body (which does mean the occasional treat, but choose it and savour it mindfully!).  Many dietitians talk about an 80:20 or 90:10 rule, and most dietitians really love food.  I strive for BALANCE, VARIETY, and MODERATION which means all foods can fit on my plate!

Yours in food,
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching