Let’s face it. Our relationship with food can be tricky. From how we think about food… to deciding what food to eat… to how much of it we end up eating… to how that food then makes us feel. Moving through this ritual multiple times a day can be, yeah, exhausting! And to make this process even more delicate, how we eat is just as critical.
Intuitive or mindful eating can be defined as being in tune and present with your body throughout the eating process. Fueling yourself in this way can provide countless benefits like improved digestion, better absorption of nutrients and the ability to feed your body what it actually needs (and the optimal amount of it!).
A quick case in point: eating all the kale in the world won’t do its job (you know, delivering Vitamins A, K B6, magnesium and calcium for glowing skin and cleansing the bod) if you are constantly in “fight or flight” mode when meal time approaches.
We dove into the topic of “intuitive eating” earlier this month for our in-shop course with Marisa Molina from Hello Beautiful Health – a holistic health practitioner and life coach whose mission is to heal people’s relationship with food. She believes that your relationship with food doesn’t have to be hard, confusing, intimidating or even lead to feelings of guilt (and we agree!). But what does intuitive eating actually look like? What actual steps can we take to incorporate intuitive eating into our daily routine?
We break down the process in the link below, STEP BY STEP; before, during and after a meal. Let’s begin!
Slow down and pause as meal time approaches to really check in with yourself.
- Ask yourself: Am I feeling stressed, anxious, lonely, emotional? Tuning in with your emotions and understanding what your body is asking for will help guide you towards the ingredients your body needs while preventing any overeating.
- Ask yourself: “What am I craving?” We’re definitely guilty of scarfing down the ENTIRE bread basket after a stressful day at the office – but cravings really are your body’s way of communicating there’s something it NEEDS. Craving carbs and sweets is closely linked to a drop in energy levels or emotions (sound familiar?) and can be kicked to the curb by rebalancing your blood sugar with lean protein & nourishing carbs (think brown rice or quinoa!). For more info click here for Marisa’s guide to decoding your cravings.
- Ask yourself: “How hungry am I?” Acknowledging this ahead of time will help ignite awareness of your body’s cues when it tries to alert you – “I’m satisfied!”
- Breathe. Practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing while prepping your meal (or waiting at a restaurant) will help relax the nervous system and enhance blood flow to your digestive organs, which means less bloating and less likelihood of having to unbutton your jeans at the end of your meal (hey, we’ve all been there!!).
DURING YOUR MEAL:
- Sit down and respect meal time – this might seem obvious to many of you but you’d be surprised how hard it can be us multi-taskers on the go! (Eating in the car while driving is also a NO from us!).
- Put away and turn off all technology that may serve as a distraction from our mindfulness practice and lead to overeating. How easy is it to eat an entire bag of chips while watching a dramatic episode of The Real Housewives? We want our undivided attention on the act of eating and any emotions/feelings that may arise while eating.
- Once the food is in front of you, open up your awareness to become fully present – take a moment to really notice the aroma, texture and colors of the food in front of you. Pause between bites by setting down your fork and continuing to check in. Did you know it takes about 20 mins to know if you’ve had enough food?
- CHEW CHEW CHEW — digestion begins in the mouth so the longer food is exposed to saliva, the easier it moves through your digestive organs, and the less gas is creates. Aim to chew about 30-50 times before swallowing.
- Take a moment to express gratitude for the food you just ate and remember it’s power to sustain and NOURISH you.
- Check in with yourself AGAIN, about an hour after eating. Are you feeling tired, energetic, craving a sweet snack? PRO TIP: keeping a food journal will help determine any sensitivities to certain foods and help you make better food choices in the future.
Shop Good Babes, how do these tips sound? No need to be overwhelmed! Start slow. Pick one or two tips from our guide and commit to following through with them for the next week. Make reminders on your phone before your general meal time! Place a post-it on your fridge reading “CHECK IN!”
No matter how you choose to practice mindful eating, remember to do what you can + what works for YOU.
Photo by Stacy Keck for Shop Good