7 Mindful Eating Exercises to Ignite Weight Loss
Why Eating With Mindfulness Ignites Weight Loss (and makes food taste better)
Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts – New York
How many times have you been driving in your car, but your mind was thinking of something else? Then you come back to the present moment and think, “Who was just driving my car?” This is the opposite of mindfulness. Mindfulness is feeling your hands on the steering wheel, your foot on the gas pedal, and being aware of your external environment. Giving active attention to these elements is an example of a mindfulness exercise.
But this is just mindfulness for beginners. True practices of mindfulness also involve awareness of your internal environment (your thoughts, emotions, feelings) but without reaction or judgment. In other words, if you are angry (for example), you don’t judge the anger as being good or bad. It’s just there—but it’s not part of you. And you observe it until it changes or leaves. You don’t try to distract yourself from the anger. Instead, you watch it with non-judgment, and then let it go.
But it’s easier said than done! How can we just observe our feelings and not react to them? All things come with practice. Here are 7 mindfulness exercises that you can practice with eating, which will help you drop the weight quickly, happily, and with ease and grace.
Look at your food before you eat it.
Again, we are not talking mindfulness for beginners here. I mean REALLY look at it. Even if you’re only eating strawberries, observe how all of the strawberries look different from one another. Look at the subtle differences in color, the vibrancy, the seeds, and the shape. Then you can start to appreciate your food as what it is—a work of art and part of nature—just like you.
Think about where your food came from.
Once upon a time, I really loved Oreos. I could easily eat an entire package of Oreos in one sitting. Mindfulness changed that because I started to consider where they came from—sugar and unnatural substances, made in a big factory that pollutes the earth. To think of the strawberry, on the other hand, and all of the rain and sunshine that goes into growing it, is a beautiful process that makes it feel even more nourishing to eat.
Pay attention to the body’s signals.
One of the main reasons for overeating is that we often don’t realize we’re full. Pay attention to your body’s signals when you eat. This is much easier to do if you tune in with how you physically feel, rather than what your mind is wanting. Bring your awareness to your abdomen area, and ask yourself, “Am I still hungry?” You never know until you ask your body!
Turn off the TV.
Television is one of the biggest distractions. Many households in America have a television in every room! Let your TV time be separate from your eating time. When you eat, turn of the tube, and focus on your food.
Let go of mindless chatter.
If you’re caught up in gossip, chatter, or debate while you’re eating, you’re going to be paying more attention to the conversation, and less attention to your food. This, again, is the opposite of mindfulness. The more you can let go of the chatter, the more you’ll be able to focus on eating, and then you’ll notice when you’re full.
Part of the beauty of mindful eating is to taste your food more, and to appreciate the texture. I used to eat so fast that I could hardly taste my food. Now that I actually take the time to chew, I notice so many more subtle flavors, consistencies, and ingredients. Not only will this make your food taste better, but it will make you crave healthier food, because you’ll be more aware of the quality of ingredients.
This part of mindfulness is paramount. If you can’t love your food (and I mean really love it, not just crave it), then how can it love you back? If you look at your food as something that will make you fat, or as some kind of an enemy, then that is what it will be. The next time you eat a meal, think of how it will nourish your body—the greatest gift you were ever given. Give thanks for the people who grew, harvested, packed, shipped, and unpacked it to get it to you. These are the people who made it possible for us to eat such variety. There are people starving in the world, and sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in such abundance.
Be grateful. Be mindful. Eat happy!
Tip: Browse the Spa Index Recipe Collection for healthy recipes, including from Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts