Mindful Connections to Food

Food is everywhere, and there are many reasons why people eat. And I do see this all the time. I used to eat for many reasons other than physical hunger. Boredom, stress, self-sabotage, fear, pleasure, obsession, reward, filling a void that will never be filled with food and more. This week the focus is on checking I with yourself to determine why you are standing in front of the fridge, or heading to the lunch room. Let’s explore the following questions:

Why Do You Eat?
Do you wait until you are hungry or eat according to a routine? Do you get hunger signals so it makes it easy to know when it’s time to eat? Some people are in a natural rhythm of nourishing their bodies when they feel hungry. While others aren’t able to identify when they are hungry, which can be due to many physical and emotional factors. A lot of times, people may eat when not truly hungry but because the clock or their schedule says they should.  Some people don’t eat until they are close to passing out and their bodies demand attention. This is really a sign of a lack of awareness. How much time elapses between meals or snacks?

Do You Experience Hunger or Seek to Avoid the Sensation?

Do you eat balanced meals or graze continually throughout the day? And if you graze, do you find yourself going to food after stressors? Starting to explore the way you behave around food and why will help you to understand how often you go to it for physical hunger versus other kinds of hunger. Does eating the way you do feel good for your body?  Is it how you were raised, or is it something you’ve adopted over time? I see so many people creating their habits and relationship with food from a very young age, so it’s often great to go back to that time to see if we still have those same habits.

This week, take note of your cues around snacks, meals and ingestion of food.  Before you eat, ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry, or emotionally hungry?” Answering this question before you eat will help to bring you awareness of if you really need to eat or not. If it is emotional, ask what is triggering me to want more? This exploration is so powerful to understanding why you want to eat.

Why Do You Stop Eating?

After a meal do you feel comfortably full, over-stuffed, or still longing for more?  Do you finish everything that’s on your plate or stop when you feel as though you have had enough?  Do you keep eating even though you feel full or uncomfortable, and if so why? We often have patterns we aren’t even aware of that drive the way we eat, how much and if we are multi-tasking or doing other things while eating. Reflecting upon these questions helps you to build an awareness.

Perhaps you were told at a young age to clear your plate before you could leave the table. Or perhaps you were told “there are starving kids so finish your food.” And now even if you are full you keep eating. Is this really mindful? Or is it time to release this old habit for something that better supports your relationship with food?
This week try to tune in and notice not just when and if you are hungry, but also when and if you are comfortably full…and what you do when you have either sensation.  For example, are you more inclined to overeat at restaurants when portions are not your decision? 

Why is the Digestive Process Important?

Consider how the food you eat feels as it moves through your digestive tract.  Are you bloated after meals, energized, lethargic? Most people who are eating on the run, chewing their food to quickly or eating while stressed may complain of digestive discomfort. Changing our mindfulness with food can help to relieve these symptoms. I encourage you to sit down and chew your food slowly without distractions and good company.

This week, keep note of any physical symptoms, noting energy levels, mood, bowel movements, heartburn, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and any else that you may experience regularly such as headaches or brain fog. This may help to give you some insight into how the way you eat my be impacting your health.

How Do Emotions Affect Your Appetite?

Some people eat becaus
e they are sad, lonely, stressed, or really carry a void of self-love which they try to fill with food, while others forget about food entirely when they are feeling strong emotions.  Which emotional states trigger you the most and is your innate reaction to stuff them down with food or to starve them out?

Before letting anything pass your lips, be it food or drink, do a quick self-care check-in.  Are you “hangry” or do you simply have “appetite”?  Or are you not hungry at all but experiencing a strong emotional state, positive or negative?

Don’t Forget to Reflect!

Be sure to check out more wonderful information with Mindful Connections to Food here http://botanicahealth.com/mnc/

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