For most of my adult life – before life circumstances derailed my efforts for a short while– I have been eating intuitively and mindfully. I was at peace with food and loved to prepare it. At one point my husband even owned an American Restaurant in Germany, and with my then small children, we loved to visit every chance we got when he was at work.
But life happened and I lost track of that love and practice for mindful and intuitive eating temporarily
However, after a while of falling for the trap of conventional eating practices, I have regained my practice, and my overall health has been improving due to this fact, having found more of a balance, and harmony. And yours can too!Improve your relationship with food by eating mindfully #healthyliving Click To Tweet
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful Eating for me starts at the preparation. It is the focus, and active state of being lovingly present with the food, at the moment of preparation and consumption without distraction, to the point of creating an almost meditative spiritual state.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is the result of mindful eating. It is the awareness of the wisdom of your body, allowing you to listen to its needs regarding fuel, and filling it accordingly, without restrictions, limitations or diets, achieving a healthy, gentle balance of living in harmony with food and your body, instead of fighting against it.
Both of those practices have some rules, however. If you are thinking, that intuitive eating is a simple freedom from diet then you are only partially correct. It is a practice of learning to identify body cues, to understand the reasons behind certain cravings, and the awareness of how food actually tastes like.
- Improved mental state. I am sure you know that dieting and eating, in general, can become a very stressful daily occurrence. Mindful and intuitive eating takes out the stress, by focusing the mind on what is actually in front of you, rather than all of the – sometimes very negative – self-chatter and habitual practices, that come with eating.
- Improved awareness of your body. Intuitive eating gives you a chance to learn about your body cues. This awareness helps you to discover which foods make you feel bloated, energetic, heavy, or many other different ways. This understanding of your physical state, can prevent overeating, and often teaches the practitioners which foods they have sensitivities towards, which you might have disregarded before.
- Improved relationship with ingredients. Mindful and intuitive eating can give you a better connection to the food you are consuming. In your presence, you can make wiser choices, that are not based on rushed judgment but on the ingredients and flavors you actually have in front of you.
You are back in control!
Sounds complicated? It isn’t. It does take practice, as with anything worthwhile doing. In order to make the transition into mindful and intuitive eating easier, I have compiled some tips for you.
Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating Tips
Let go of weight loss expectations. Because this is not a diet, but a lifestyle, and mindfulness practice, it is not wise to have any particular weight-loss or gain expectations (depending on where you are in your current diet journey). While you most likely will experience a balancing of your weight into a naturally healthy level, your goal is to establish – maybe for the first time – a friendly, loving-kindness relationship with the process of eating.
Expect it to take some times to learn your bodies cues. The more mindless and unhealthy your relationship with your body and food has been before starting this practice, the longer it will take you to learn to communicate effectively with food and your physical state. Be patient with yourself.
Remove distractions. Turn off the television, put down that book, and get rid of the music in the background. Become present in the moment of preparation, and consuming by keeping as much silence as possible.Learn To Eat Again – Mindful Eating And Intuitive Eating – An Introduction Click To Tweet
Slow down the eating process. Instead of rushing to finishing your meal as quickly as possible, put your silverware (or your sandwich) down every once in a while. This gives you chance to listen to your bodies cues, such as a signal that you are getting fuller. Pausing gives you a chance to stay in communication with your physical self and allows you notice when you should get ready to stop.
If you have decided that you want to eat a high-fat meal, remember to slow down even further. It takes a lot longer for your body to recognize if it is satisfied or not, with high-fat meals. To combat this, I have seen practitioners use little tricks, like eating a donut with a knife and fork. It might seem funny, but it truly does slow you down and gives your body a chance to realize its satisfaction level.
I will dive deeper into the subject of mindful and intuitive eating over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.