Words by Pure Glow's Autumn Muse: Amelia Harvey - Life Coach & Meditation Teacher
Have you ever wolfed down a meal with your eyes glued to social media or TV?
Have you ever polished off a tub of ice cream after a stressful day?
Can you remember the last time you made an effort to create a calm environment to eat in?
Perhaps you’re battling with bloating and overeating, even though you’re making healthy food choices?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, you’re missing a key piece of the healthy eating puzzle – mindfulness.
Eating is one of the most sensory and enjoyable experiences we have – yet most of us are barely paying attention while we do it. Mindful eating is the process of slowing down and savouring our food. It’s also about being mindful of our physical and mental state as we eat. This is key, because when we’re stressed, our nervous system shuts down our digestion, prioritising energy
and blood flow to our major muscles – the fight and flight response. If we’re distracted when we eat, our brain doesn’t get the signals it needs to tell our body to secrete saliva and digestive juices and activate the muscles
of our stomach and intestines. Not only do we experience bloating, gas and discomfort but because our food is poorly digested we miss out on absorbing important nutrients.
Eating mindlessly can cause us to overeat – we need to be paying attention so that we can pick up on our body’s signals that we’re comfortably satisfied. You might be surprised how much less you need to eat just by being mindful at meal times!
Take the following 5 steps at meal times and see the difference mindful eating makes to you:
1. Soothe your nervous system – before eating, take 5 deep breaths down into your belly, exhaling slowing. This will help to activate the ‘rest and digest’ nervous system response when digestion is kicked into gear.
2. Feel gratitude for what you’re about to eat – taking a moment to appreciate a meal makes you more likely to savour it. Gratitude will also help with any feelings of guilt or tension around eating.
3. Notice the appearance and smell of the food – what colours do you see? What scents can you pick up on?
4. Taste your food – chew slowing, paying attention to the different flavours and textures. Try to chew your food to liquid before swallowing, your digestive system will love you for it!
5. Notice how your food is making you feel and stop eating when you’re comfortably satisfied, instead of just finishing everything that’s on your plate.
Enjoy your mindful eating experience!
Find out more about what Amelia does via her website: www.ameliaharvey.com.au
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