Mindful Eating. Part One: Become aware of what you eat.

I am definitely on a long journey with eating healthy food. I have been able to control and deploy tools to improve my well-being in so many areas of life. I have consistently worked out, I consider myself a meditator, I journal, I reflect, I challenge myself, I continue to learn and grow. But food, god dam food you are my nemesis.

And so in my usual style I refuse to be defeated. I am trying new things to help control my eating. I am badging it as mindful eating. Trying to step away from the fad diets i have followed in the past. I am drawing on elements of mindfulness, routine and goal setting. I am trying to learn from some of the idols I have in physical well-being like Jo Wicks the body coach or Andy Puddicombe fonder of HeadSpace. I am talking to friends and trying to learn from the examples of people who succeed in maintaining a healthy relationship with food.

I thought we could go on this journey together. I would love to know how you manage a healthy relationship with food or the challenges you are yet to overcome?

My first step in mindful eating: Become more aware of what I eat.

You could keep a list, write it down or find one of the many apps to help you track what you are eating. However I found these didn’t always help because while they track lots of interesting information like calories they didn’t ask the important things like…

I have taken the time over the last week to tally up what I have eaten on a daily basis. More importantly I have tried to become aware of how I feel before, during and after eating. I have asked myself…

  • Why am I eating this? Am I hungry, bored, it is just that time of day?
  • How do I feel right now? Happy, exhausted, stressed?
  • How do I feel after I have eaten? Satisfied, bloated, disappointed, energised?

In the end I stopped writing down everything (it took too much time) but I continued to ask myself the questions making a mental note of any new discoveries.

Remember the goal is just to observe don’t beat yourself up, just understand.

Here’s what I learnt just from taking the time to reflect….

I have a sweet tooth.

In those moments I find myself reaching for a snack or food I definitely gravitate towards sweet high sugar foods.

Food is my reward

I do occasionally reach for food as a reward. A hard days labour, a long day in work, completing an action that has been hanging around for a while.

I am an emotional Eater

When I am stressed or upset food is something I lean on. I was a little anxious last week as I let my eldest go to the park for the first time on her own. Oh how I wanted to stuff my face with chocolate.

I am impatient

This probably applies to most aspects of my life. Certainly with food I don’t want to spend lots of time preparing food.

I eat past the point of being full.

I don’t know why I do but I often eat beyond the point of being full. Leaving me feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

I am in control.

I started this article stating I wanted to be in control of my eating. I have realised I already am. I control everything I eat. I might not be making the healthiest choices but no one is forcing me to eat.

Part Two – Mindful Eating. Practical Steps – Coming next week.

Next week I will share the first steps I am taking to try and help with the above. Wish me luck!


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