Starting to notice our food patterns is an integral component to learning how to eat more mindfully. When truly savored, food should be nourishing on multiple levels. Real pleasure results in satisfaction. But if you find yourself chronically tempted by random cravings—even if it’s directly after a meal—think about how many distractions you’ve gotten into the habit of bringing to the dining table.
Last month, I briefly explained the seven types of hunger. Taking time to assess how hungry we are, in addition to what is stimulating our desire to eat, are two mental exercises that can directly combat mindless patterns of behavior. Another useful action is planning meals and/or snacks during the times of day you might be ready for a bit of a bite, but are far from feeling famished. This also relates to how skipping mealtimes could have the opposite effect than intended—you feel so ravenous that fasting ends with a binge rather than sticking to the routine exchanges.
Maybe you tend to “zone out” during main mealtimes because you frequently dine alone or while on the go. Are there choices that would help you stay rooted in the present? The more attuned you are to the physical cues and emotions (pleasure, discomfort, guilt, comfort, etc.) you experience, it will gradually become easier to differentiate between the causes of hunger—or food aversion—you’re feeling.
For instance, if you regularly become anxious in certain environments or when specific items are on a menu, give yourself grace—plus space—to acknowledge the thoughts that are triggered. It is not uncommon for individuals diagnosed with disordered eating conditions to have fear foods, so don’t shy away from reaching out for additional support when strong internal reactions repeatedly rise to the surface.
Got a mindful eating tip that’s now a part of your wellness toolkit? Drop the details in the comment box.
Have a wonderfully productive rest of your Wednesday!