Previously we introduced the topic of mindful eating. For many, this is a new concept; for others, this may be a part of your daily routine. Wherever you are on the spectrum, I would like to continue to delve further into the concept of mindful eating by discussing food’s true purpose – to nourish our body – in the hope it will illicit a better understanding of why we may eat vs. why we should eat, and how to battle some old habits.
We eat for many reasons. Some of those reasons include:
- when we are with others (celebrating/mourning, gathering with friends)
- when there is a medical need (taking medication, treating a low blood sugar)
- when we are by ourselves (comforting or punishing ourselves; boredom)
- out of habit (watching TV/movies, because it is your normal time to eat)
…and the list can continue. We may eat before a party so that we don’t eat at the party, but when we arrive at the party, we find ourselves eating anyway, whether to be polite or to indulge, etc.
Food is to nurture, not harm. Being completely honest with yourself, ask yourself these questions: If you eat a large meal, how do you feel? If you eat until your feel uncomfortable, did you eat too much? Why did you eat that quantity? Did it fulfill you and give you a sense of well-being, or did you undermine your needs and purpose by overindulging?
Implementing a mindful eating technique
Considering the reasons above, and any you may have thought of, answer the following: Is food really answering these needs? What other ways could you satisfy those needs without using food?
Ask yourself before you eat, “Do I need this food for nourishment, energy or another purpose?” Consider your answer honestly and entirely, and then make your decision to eat it or not.
Think of some ways that will help you remember to “check in” before you eat. With consistent thought, you will begin to make mindful choices based on your body’s needs and become a more active participant in your health!