How Can Mindful Eating Help You Reduce Stress & Anxiety Around Food?
Let's dive into the Mindful Eating practice together. There are going to be a lot of questions to ask yourself, as it's a new area to be explored. We need to bring your focus more on your inner world instead of listening to external sources. Take your time with these steps
1. Increase Your Self Awareness
One thing that can be extremely jarring yet educational for your to do with yourself, is to try and gain more self-awareness for a few moments.
- What do your eating habits look like?
- Are you a fast eater?
- Do you ever sit quietly and chew your food or shovel food into your mouths at such a rate that you don't even truly enjoy the food that you're eating and it's almost joyless?
- Do you ever skip meals and overeat at night?
- Are you may be relying on food to regulate your emotions (angry, stressed, sad, happy)?
- Whenever you sit down to eat, please try to notice how you feel before you begin to eat, during, and more importantly after eating. Maybe take a few mental or physical notes on what's going on in your head when you eat?
- Is your mind jumping all over the place and there is no space for experiencing flavours/ textures?
- Do you actually enjoy your food? If not, can you tune into your body more and think of something you would eat instead? Why is that?
Try to reflect on these questions before, during, and after you finished with your meal. Practice this step a few times until it becomes more natural.
2. Take a Moment to Taste
Have you ever gotten a meal, only to discover that it's completely subpar, and you ate it just to get it over with?
It's important to begin to draw distinctions between the meals that you enjoy and the meals that you are just eating out of boredom. You might be surprised that you don't pay much attention to some meals and that eating is just a formality to begin or end the day. Taking an inventory of what you feel will help you to make better choices, and you know that higher-quality healthy foods will almost always taste a lot better. The whole point of taking a moment and slowing down is to shift your focus from being always in a rush and obsessing over numbers.
You need to explore other aspects of food and eating, in general, to be able to distance yourself from the stress and anxiety around them.
So, what we would highly recommend is to take a deep breath before the first bite, look at the food in front of you, analyse the texture of it, what it smells like, and try to visualise what's going to taste like when you finally have the full bite.
3. Avoid the Tech Zombie Binge
Eating with our phones in our hands or with the TV on is a very common way to relax and switch our minds off the day's struggles. This absent-minded eating can lead to losing control and track of the amount of food you consume, and you might end up finishing an entire bag of snacks that were meant to last for a week.
If you are less distracted, it's easier to be more mindful of how much food you are eating and whether you like it or are just on autopilot. The time you spend with your food should be spent developing good habits that lay the path for better, more healthy choices in the future.
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