You probably got the ebook I wrote in November about mindful eating. Hopefully, you were able to put some or all of those practices in place. Here we will dive a little deeper.
Truth be told, for some of us the holidays + winter are a tough time to remember to slow down. For me it’s always hard to avoid grabbing food that’s laying around + there is always food laying around during the holidays.
I’ve known about these “pro tips” for years but I still need reminders. This time of year we could all use some reminders to slow down.
Building up our toolboxes can start to feel like a job all it’s own + at some point you wonder why you need all of these things. The only answer I’ve found is that if we want to feel our best we have to do these things to counteract the warp speed pace of our world. Plus, you don't need all of them every single second, but it's nice to have options when you need them.
The tools we are referencing today are the tools of MINDFULNESS. We will apply it to eating, but it's scope is way bigger. Anything done with mindfulness brings a little extra richness to life + has a significant effect on calming + balancing our nervous system, hormones + mood.
We always have a choice:
Keep going, going, going until we collapse OR stop to notice + enjoy ourselves along the way. The latter is choosing mindfulness.
Related to eating, mindfulness can be a really powerful tool in connecting to your own body + it’s brilliance. If you want to hear what your body is saying you have to be quiet enough to listen. (Also: I'm going to refer to the body as "her and she" because I feel like it's more relatable + gentle)
How often do you check in with your body to see how she’s feeling?
Do it really quick. Close your eyes, focus on a few exhales, letting yourself relax. Ask yourself, "How are you feeling?" What comes up? Take in the information.
Sometimes my body is tired, but if I’m too busy to hear that from my body, my brain tells me I need some sugar or more caffeine. As many of us know, once the brain decides it wants some sugar it is HARD to convince it otherwise.
Let me share a personal example. I’ve noticed that my body is most vulnerable to this sugar scavenging in the mid afternoon. Noticing that doesn’t always mean I can avoid it, but it means I am totally aware of what’s going on + I can CHOOSE. (remember the list you created yesterday?)
I’m also aware that if I’m sleeping well/enough, moving my body, meditating in the morning + I have a hearty lunch (sitting down) the sugar monster is too lazy to take the lead. I feel good + satisfied.
Today is about INACTION in order to pay attention, we can't pay attention if we're too busy doing things.
1. Today put all of your meals + snacks on a plate or in a bowl. Take them to a table, sit down + just eat.
No matter how silly it might be. Put some chips in a bowl. Put almonds or a piece of fruit in a bowl, put a cookie on a plate. It makes a huge difference when you put it on a plate instead of reaching your hand in a bag every few minutes while you walk around doing other things. You are telling your brain + body, "hey lady, we're going to walk away from the computer/phone + we're going to eat now." Then your body will do all the incredible things it does in order to digest food + make you feel good.
2. Ask your body some questions about how she’s feeling. Is she tired? Is she thirsty? Is she nervous? Is she stressed out? Is she sad? Is she scattered?
No need to judge any of it. Just acknowledge it, then choose how to feed yourself + how to take care of your needs.
You might realize you try to take care of these feelings with food, most of us do, but let’s also start caring for these feelings with non food things: sleep, meditation, long walk, talking to a friend, vacation, staycation, hot bath, journaling or asking for help.
3. Set your utensils or food down every once in awhile to check in. How are you feeling? Notice what happens if your stomach feels full + there is still food left on your plate.
4. Don't forget to breathe. Before, during + after you eat take a few deep breaths. We tend to be really fast eaters, but what happens if we slow down to give our brain + belly a chance to be fueled? If you're eating yummy food, why not savor it?
Here are some of my favorite tools to slow down + practice pleasure:
- Brag about your food. If you made it tell someone how incredible it is + that you should totally become a chef. Be a little dramatic. Even if you're alone, have this conversation with yourself. If you're eating out take note of the flavors, spices, freshness that you notice. Do you like it? Do you love it? What do you love about it. Act like a judge on Top Chef but you're not there to criticize or send anyone packing.
- Make it fancy. Even if you ordered take-out, put it on a plate. Drink water out of a wine glass or crystal. Light a candle. Turn on music. Have a topic or question to prompt dinner conversation. Use the china. Invite the neighbors over for a pot of soup + game.
- Put the stuff away. Phones, computers, TV, work, books, magazines. In France people don't sit in restaurants staring at their phones, texting. They engage, they do what they came to do: eat, savor, enjoy themselves, relax + connect human to human.
Show us what you did to slow down today. Take a picture of your fancy meal (then put your phone away) + share it with us. What happened when you listened to your body?
No worksheet this week, but a playlist for dinner making + enjoying.
Oooooo girl, this is delicious! I'm lucky I get to feed myself like a queen.