Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mindful Eating for Body, Mind and Spirit

Winter has arrived in the beautiful Shuswap, and chilly weather has most of us craving heavy and filling foods like creamy pasta casserole, warm cinnamon buns, pumpkin spice lattes and rich beef stews. Many dieters have an especially difficult time sticking to their eating plans this time of year, and let's face it, who doesn't love to indulge in thanksgiving leftovers, Halloween treats and Christmas baking? Well fear not, the mindful eating practice covered in this article will not ask you to forgo eating any of your cold weather favorites. In fact, when it comes to eating for weight Ioss (without other health complications) I say down with restrictive diets all together! 
So what is this healthy eating without dieting you ask? This is an ancient technique that has very practical implications today. This ritual encourages you to say yes to food according to your body's needs. Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. 
Eating with the intention of nourishing your body
Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body. 
Sounds easy right? Not so fast..... Mindful eating is easy once you've trained yourself to have self awareness, and it may take some time to develop consciousness around what you eat. Once you develop this skill, you can say good bye to crash diets, guilt and obesity. 
In today's world, we eat for a multitude of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with intention of nourishment or attention to effects on our bodies.  We eat to curb stress, because we're lonely, because we're nutrient deficient and addicted to carbs and fat. Eating is often mindless consuming and guilt inducing. 
How do you start the journey to eating mindfully? By understanding your food triggers and then creating space between the trigger and your reaction to it. This practice develops your response-ability, or your ability to respond thoughtfully to your food trigger. Before eating, ask yourself these questions:
Am I hungry?
How do I feel?
Why do I eat?
When do I want to eat?
What do I eat?
How do I eat?
How much do I eat?
Where do I invest my consumed energy?

These questions will help you to determine your food habits and patterns, which is the first step on your mindful eating journey. Stay tuned for my December article, where we'll discuss more mindful eating strategies and I'll teach you a hands on exercise to help your mindful eating journey. 

Jennifer Szabo
Transformational Wellness Coach
Zumba Fitness/ yoga Instructor
Facebook: Zumba,yoga & wellness with Jenn

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