We are a nation of multi-taskers. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. We get a lot done. Other times—during mealtime, say—it’s a sure-fire recipe for indigestion, weight gain, and misery.
How can you bring order to disordered eating? In a word, mindfulness—living fully in the moment so you can appreciate what you are doing, eating, thinking and feeling in an objective and non-judgmental way.
To bring mindfulness to the table, start by sitting calmly away from any distraction (we’re looking at you iPad, iPhone and TV). Take a deep breath and:
- focus on what you are eating (the color, texture, taste, mouthfeel) so you can truly savor (and later remember) the experience.
Why it’s a good thing: Food becomes an aesthetic pleasure (true comfort food), not a drug or the enemy. It fills all your senses.
- eat more slowly and with greater awareness so you can identify the physical signs of hunger, satiety, and satisfaction.
Why it’s a good thing: You get to know what your body needs (and find you may not need to eat as much).
- remember how the food makes you feel before, during and after eating so you can separate emotional cues from actual physical hunger.
Why it’s a good thing: You can pre-empt negative emotions (shame, panic, anxiety) that you may feel around food and that fuel overeating and guilt.
- make your own informed decisions about portion size and servings so you can take control of what and how much you eat.
Why it’s a good thing: You see food as nourishment, not a way to fill an emotional void or satisfy others’ expectations.
Just getting started on a mindfulness practice? Check out the Mindfulness Daily app http://mindfulnessdailyapp.com/, which offers easy-to-assimilate prompts and techniques. And visit One Girl Wellness (onegirlwellness.com) for more tips on healthful living or to set up free coaching consultation.
Susan Bodiker founded One Girl Wellness to help girls and women overcome the image disorders that eat away at their self-esteem and prevent them from engaging confidently in their world. Her new e-book, “Fat Girl: how to let go of your weight and get on with your life,” will be available for purchase on January 27. Visit www.susan-bodiker.com for details.