Welcome to Healthy and Golden! This is my second post in the three part series – Fundamentals to Eating Healthy. If you have not yet read the first fundamental on a Healthy Mindset, you can find it here.
Welcome back to the Fundamental series! I hope you found the first post a bit of a eye opener, and I thank you for reading it all – it was incredibly long but all worth it I’m sure! Today I’m telling you all about Part 2 of a Healthy Mindset in regards to healthy eating.
You may or may not know of mindful eating already as it’s started to get a bit of a name for itself in the health world, hand in hand with meditation. So what is mindful eating? Mindful eating is taking the time to be aware of your eating practices – to take care in what you eat, and to savour the moment.
Doing this encourages healthy eating habits, where you realise what you are eating instead of just gulping it down, you enjoy what you are eating so you are satisfied and cravings are down, and your body registers well before you’ve finished eating when it is full. These all go hand in hand with healthy weight management practices.
So, let me ask you a question,..
– Where do you regularly eat your food?
– Is there a distraction like music, or a tv?
– Do you finish your meal quickly, without realising, or being aware of it’s true taste?
– Are you then overcome with a feeling of ‘full’ and uncomfortableness?
With our busy world and our new-found hectic lifestyles, it is rare to take a moment to sit and really 100% of a meal (especially out with kids am-i-right-parents?).
Here are some tips for you to use to help your mindful eating practices at home. These can be tricky at first, as your breaking the routines you’ve grown accustomed to over the years, and maybe you’ve possibly grown up with, so take the time to slowly implement them in.
Am I Hungry?
We have a routine in our days, and we’ve been told ‘you MUST eat three meals a day, and regularly snack’. This isn’t really a reliable guide to work off – you will constantly be digesting food, not allowing your body to have a break to aid illness, but you will also not be able to identify the signs your body gives you to say it is hungry, or thirsty.
People very quickly mix up the two signals of hungry and thirsty. A side tip for you is when you have hungry signals, drink a cup of water and see how you feel in 10 minutes. It may just be because you are thirsty.(Ref)
Take time in your day to space out your eating – no, I’m not telling you to skip meals. I’m telling you to wait until you notice your body is telling you it is hungry.
These signs can be rumbles or pain in the belly region, starting to feel tired or weak, trouble focusing on tasks, and in extreme cases, headaches and lethargy.
When you begin to get these hunger cues, this is the time to eat. It is when your body has finished digesting and needs to be refuelled (Ref)
Turn off distractions
The tv can wait to be watched later, right now it’s time to focus on your meal and on your family. Music is also a distraction as it busies your mind.
Sit up at the table
Making it a routine to sit up at the table creates a healthy eating platform for your mind – your mind thrives off routine, and sitting at the table encourages your appetite and focus.
Take a bite
Really, take a bite. Let it sit in your mouth, and taste the juices around your mouth. Move it around, but don’t chew yet. Actually think about the tastes you experience, and what it does for your body, and then after 30 seconds to a minute, finish the process. Doing this little practice sends signals to your brain, encourages saliva in your mouth to break down your food during the meal process, which will aid your digestion later on.
Take your time
One of the best tricks for weight management, and for this practice of mindful eating, is to put down your fork between bites. This slows down your eating, and encourages you to completely finish your food before you pick it up again. Think about your eating Why are you eating this food? What will it do for your body? What will the energy from these foods provide you to accomplish later on – better sleep is still an accomplishment!
Finish when you are full
Don’t push the limits. We have been accustomed in society to finish all that is on our plate, but this is one of the many negative behaviours that counteract weight management. What is your body telling you? Honour your body, and yourself.
Doing these mindful practices will have a great effect on your eating experiences, not just for weight management, but for appreciation of food and wise food choices at meal times as well.
Mindful eating practices go hand in hand with portion sizes, which is the third part of the Fundamental series, but before we get there, you need to know about Mindless Eating.
What is mindless eating?
I honestly didn’t know about this practice until I began studying, and since doing these strategies, I have found a significant improvement in my eating, especially when the cravings hit.
Mindless eating is the practice of understanding your own personal triggers towards eating, and minimising these triggers through food preparation tricks. Here are some mindless eating strategies for you to try out for yourself!
Eat on a smaller plate – Over the past 50 years, the dinner plate size has increased from 22cm (9 inches) in diameter to 28-30cm (11-12 inches) (Ref). WHY?? Seriously.
Be aware of the size of your plate – purchase plates that have an inner ring and serve up your meals to meet inside this ring, or use butter plates instead (similar in size). I’ve also heard that eating off blue plates encourages you to eat slower and eat healthier.
If you’re fond of your sweet drinks, use smaller cups to drink out of them. You will still feel satisfied but the sugar count will be much less compared to a large. I will be touching base on soft drinks in the next Fundamentals post, so look out next week for all this eye-opening information!
Minimise triggers by removing the packaging off your foods and placing them in transparent containers with labels in your pantry. Specific colours and images on packaging encourage your brain to eat the product, and eat more of it too (remember what I mentioned in the Healthy Mindset post about bad advertising??
Reorder your Pantry
You may know this one already. Keep tempting unhealthy foods out of eye sight. Move the contents of your pantry around to allow for healthy foods (especially snack foods) to be in eye level, and place all sweet foods either in the bin, or hidden behind other foods. I myself keep all my partners naughty foods behind a line of cooking foods like flours, and quinoa. Not only can’t I see it, but it’s high up and a pain in the bum for me to get them out – I actually have to get a chair.
Eat Small at Restaurants
Ordering a ‘lite’ or ‘entrée’ serve of your main meal won’t do you any harm. You are still going to enjoy the meal you want, and besides your choice when you ordered, you won’t even realise when it’s in front of you that it is smaller – winning! This also goes for any starters – don’t order them! Most of the time these are unhealthy choices, and you’re wasting money if you can’t finish your main meal because you became full of your starter. Doing these two things, definitely does keep more money in your pocket – double winning!
Think that you can implement these easy strategies into your home, to change the way you eat your food and see it too? These are powerful tips that will transform the way you approach food, and your weight management journey too! You will minimise unhealthy food choices, and this alone may drop significant calories off your daily quota – helping your health overall.
Before I finish up talking about mindful eating, I’d like to give you another freebie – if you loved your printable affirmations sheet I gave you last week, you’re going to love this – a free printable daily health tracker. One of the most important things you can do to not only be aware of your eating patterns, but also to motivate yourself to eat healthier, is to fill out a daily health tracker.
You can compare your efforts as you continue on through your journey, especially now you have some great mindful and mindless eating strategies to help you out too! You can grab your daily health tracker by clicking the banner below.
Next week, we’re diving into the good stuff learning about the Healthy Foods you should eat to optimise your health and longevity. We will learn about macros, and all the nasty things you didn’t know were in some of the most common foods you probably buy from the grocery store. I hope you’re looking forward to it, cause it’s right –here– waiting for you!
If you have any questions or comments about today’s posts, please leave them below! I love to hear your views and opinions. If you have any special tips you use to keep you on the healthy eating track, please share! You might just help out somebody – even me!