Mindful eating is a tool that can help foster a healthy relationship with food and help you finally ditch the dieting mindset for good. Unlike dieting, eating mindfully helps you step outside the superficial reasons for eating healthily and refocus your energies on body nourishment. By eating for nourishment, you can ward off the dangerous weight loss and fad diet noise interfering with what your body truly needs for satiety. Starting a mindful eating habit is super simple, all it takes is setting an intention around your eating.
The first step toward a mindful eating habit is setting up an eating schedule with foods you enjoy eating. By pre-planning meals and snacks with your logical mind, you will make healthier smarter food choices when you do go to eat. My advice is to start your day with a low sugar breakfast like oatmeal or egg white and veggie omelet and 8 oz. of water. This simple first intentional step will boost your metabolism and ward off dehydration from the nightly fasting. To best round-out your mindful eating plan, follow breakfast with a mid-morning snack, then lunch, afternoon snack, and finally a lean dinner to keep your energy up and insulin level throughout the day.
To put your plan into action, set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to eat at your scheduled “feeding” times. It’s imperative you only eat or snack at your scheduled “feeding” times so that mindless or emotional eating habits don’t creep in. Also designating at least one meal prep day each week to mix up your meals will keep the boredom away.
Your new mindful eating habit will make your food work for you rather than against you. Let the days of body shaming and guilt be a distant memory when it comes to making food choices that nourish rather than negate your body of its awesomeness. Mindful eating has never looked so good on you.
Weight loss is not a goal, it’s a result of being intentional with your eating.
I was talking to a very dear friend just yesterday about this very subject. When dining out with friends, she can’t resist not ordering the tastiest (unhealthiest) item on the menu. As a result, she hates how her clothes are fitting and come next week she plans to start KETO — which by the way she did last year, and here we are again.
When it comes to weight loss or body dysmorphia most fall into these “short-sighted” traps (i.e. FAD diets & dangerous food restrictions) which in the long-term never gets to the root of the problem or goal.
In my friend’s case, she needs to dump short-sighted extrinsic goal of clothing size and instead dig deep for an intrinsic purpose-driven goal like developing a healthier relationship with food. A healthier relationship with food would powerfully invoke a sense of control over her eating.
My personal training advice was to simplify this already touchy emotional subject for her. I explained all she had to do was make her current intentions of eating out at restaurants match up with how she wants to feel in her clothes. To do this successfully, she needs to take time to reflect on when and why this bad habit started and how she wants to react in the same situation. This powerful intentional step would put her back in control over her eating to then be a mainstay in her life.
For more clarity over her eating habits, I recommended my friend begin mindfully journaling at mealtimes. The journal would provide a complete overview of all her unhealthy eating triggers and behaviors. She can then better understand when did the type of meal she ordered become as important as just enjoying the company of good friends while dining out. Then she could formulate an intentional eating plan that still included being social with friends and matched her new intrinsic purposeful goals.
If you are continually struggling with healthy eating or following any kind of diet or meal plan, let’s talk.
Firstly, it’s not you.
It’s the warped diet mindset weight-loss companies invest billions of dollars every year to brainwash you into their quick cheap fixes.
You aren’t cheap, you deserve better, and you are smarter than this. So quit buying into their garbage!
If you really are fed up with dieting and food restrictions, you’ve come to the right place. But let me warn you, it will require a completely different mindset. There will be no talk of dieting, weight loss, or other erroneous B.S. weight-loss tactics perpetuated by the media or even the people closest to you.
When it comes to breaking bad habits, my favorite mantra is to know thy self.
If you continue to struggle with healthy eating, it’s not the food or the diet tripping you up. Your eating has actually taken on a completely different role in your life. These deep-rooted behaviors are what’s keeping you from your healthiest self. Your goal now is to become more mindful of the foods and actions that continually bring you harm so you can rectify with healthier habits.
So how are we going to achieve this? Easy!
It starts with being laser-focused on your daily eating habits. You will simply become more aware of what kinds of foods you are eating, when, and why. It seems pretty simple, right?! It kinda is. Change your habits, change your life. Cheesy I know, but at the end of the day aren’t we all just creatures of habit.
In order to change a bad habit, you first have to identify the day-to-day patterns that cause you to default to these non-serving subconscious behaviors. The easiest and most effective way I had found in my own self-growth of achieving a healthy body as well as positively influencing my personal training clients’ weight loss success was a mindful food journal.
It’s a very simple exercise of answering the following questions every time you eat.
Mindful Food Journaling question prompts:
1. What time did you eat?
2. How did you feel before you ate?
3. What exactly did you eat?
4. How did you feel after you ate?
After just a few days of journaling, it will become crystal clear to you what type of foods give you energy and what foods trigger an overeating response.
Trigger foods are a specific food that sets off a course of overeating where control is lost.
The common trigger foods for most people are your sugary and salty treats like cookies, cakes, and chips. It’s important to note that even whole foods like fruit, grains, and nuts can serve as trigger foods for some people, so be mindful when journaling at mealtimes.
For me, every time I eat sweet potatoes I experience a sugar spike causing me to want to overeat on them. So instead of sweet potatoes I substitute with foods that energize me — like oatmeal, brown rice, or quinoa.
As a personal trainer, I found that my clients had much better weight loss results and stayed motivated when I began incorporating this style of intuitive coaching into my personal training program. The simple task of clients mindfully journaling their meals each day, ultimately uncovered their bad habits around eating, exercise, people, situations, and self-limiting beliefs. As their coach, I could then help them overcome these self-sabotaging habits with guidance toward a more mindful healthy lifestyle.
But let me be clear here, there is no magical meal plan, coach, or another outside variable that will get rid of your bad eating habits. It requires die-hard commitment and saying no to habits that harm you.
Mindful food journaling will help you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns with your bad eating habits. By tracking your day-to-day you can then recognize your food and emotional triggers in order to learn more mindful ways to better control them. But it all has to begin with knowing thy self.