Why You Should Eating Mindfully And How To Start.

how to practice mindful eating
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how to eat mindfully

Disclaimer 

Please always remember that there is no quick fix for any mental health issue. In order to overcome it, you have to address your problem and ask for help a mental health professional. There are many mental health institutions where you can find professional support. Suffering in secret is never a good idea. Mental health professionals are out there to help people with any type of mental health issue. Don’t minimize your problems, sometimes everyone needs help and there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you find it difficult to go to the mental health institution just call a helpline (you can easily find a number online and it’s free!)

Remember you are not alone even if you feel this way. Many people have mental health problems especially in today’s world where it becomes more and more difficult to cope with stress and anxiety.

 

My Journey From an Eating Disorder To Mindful Eating

I have wanted to write this post for over a year but I always held back, mainly because of fear. Being myself an Ex-Anorexic I know how triggering talking about food can be. And I don’t just mean talking about weight loss, particular diet or calorie counting but any mention of food that can trigger an incredible amount of anxiety or even a panic attack. That’s why I wanted this post to be an inspiration for all those who want to adopt healthy eating habits and learn to enjoy the experience of nourishing their bodies, minds, and souls. But if you feel triggered by my words I want you to know that there’s nothing wrong with you. All you have to do is to address your issue, be gentle with yourself, establish your goals and step by step go in the right direction. Eating disorders may not be easy to overcome but it’s possible to be fully recovered. So don’t give up and remember that you’re not alone!!

Eating disorders are surrounded by many myths and misconceptions but one thing can be said: eating disorders are hidden diseases that start out so innocently… Maybe you saw a beautifully photoshopped model on the cover of a magazine or someone made an offensive comment or inappropriate joke because you dared to order a second dessert in a row… and then suddenly you feel ashamed, embarrassed and uncomfortable in your own skin… This is how the vicious cycle of internal conflict begins… sometimes an eating disorder behaviors can be triggered even if a person who suffers doesn’t make a conscious connection between their behavior and their surroundings. But a full recovery is possible if you address the issue! Never forget about that!

If you are wondering why I am telling you all of these the reason is quite simple. Eating disorders are seeing a dramatic increase in the last few years. And despite growing social awareness about this social phenomenon, the problem isn’t getting any better. Many people have this perception that eating disorders affect only young girls which is not true. Anyone can develop an eating disorder during any stage of life. I was that person who thought that it couldn’t have happened to me but I was so wrong. I was diagnosed with a severe Anorexia Nervosa when I was 19 and I faced with the choice if I wanted to get help or continue to suffer in silence. And I chose the first option because I wanted to live.

You can’t even imagine how shocked I was when my therapist asked me why I was killing myself at the beginning of our first appointment. I remember how shocked I was because I never wanted to die of starvation I just wanted to lose weight… It all started out innocently… as always… And at some point, I lost myself… During the recovery, I realized how little I knew about food. Even before developing an Anorexia Nervosa my food choices were more than questionable. To be perfectly honest with you I was a typical mindless eater. I really didn’t care about what I was putting into my body until I liked the taste of it…

 

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Overcoming An Eating Disorder

My eating disorder had been a part of my existence for so long that when I started my journey to recovery I wanted to recreate a healthy relationship with food. Then I realized that I have never had a healthy relationship with food. My nutritional choices have always been or problematic or highly questionable because let’s face it neither junk food diet nor anorexic diet is healthy nutrition.

Anyways, after many years of malnutrition and starvation, I was bound and determined to discover a healthy diet that would not only work for me but above all, it would nourish my mind, body, and soul. So I did my research. And let me tell you the number of different diets I found just totally blew my mind. But the thing is I didn’t want to start any particular diet after being anorexic for many years any kind of restriction was a potential risk. Not to mention that the word “food” was still extremely triggering. All I cared about was to find a healthy way to be able to enjoy the food again and eat without feeling guilty or anxious.

When I came upon the concept of mindful eating I was shocked. I remember asking myself: How’s that even possible that the idea of conscious eating among all these diets, ways to lose or gain weight is so underrated? Most of the people are focused on achieving a particular physical appearance while completely forgetting about nourishing their body from the inside. So they spend a lot of time in the gym and buy all of these pricy cosmetics to make their body look in a certain way while they don’t place the same value on what they put inside their bodies. It’s not a secret that you won’t feel and look good if you will be eating an artificial and highly processed food. Food is the fuel of the body. Do you want your body to be a racing car or a disabled automobile? If you chose the first option, the only way to achieve this is to adopt a mindful approach to eating.

Get ready, because they’re about to reveal some serious tips, tricks, and healthy hacks how to practice mindful eating!

 

benefits of eating mindully

But first some facts about what Mindful Eating means and why is it so beneficial to your health:

Mindful Eating Means:

  • Being a self-conscious eater and conscious grocery shopper
  • Developing food awareness
  • Considering a healthy value of food nutrients and ingredients
  • Celebrating your meals
  • Indulging in the uniqueness of eating experience
  • Creating a healthy relationship with food
  • Reflecting on current eating habits
  • Making conscious food choices
  • Being aware of food preparation techniques
  • Being aware of ingredients
  • Being aware of the origin of food
  • Listening to your body (physical or emotional hunger?)
  • Creating a healthy relationship with food
  • Developing your personal style of eating
  • Paying attention to the experience of the body
  • Becoming aware of many ways you can nurture your body
  • Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit from the inside
  • Avoiding digestive issues like bloating, reflux, constipation, indigestion etc.
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Mindful vs Mindless Eating

Mindful eating:

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Eating with all five senses (being fully aware of an eating experience)
  • Listening to your body (physical or emotional hunger?)
  • Eating to nourish and energize
  • Honoring the food
  • Avoiding judgment or criticism – live the experience
  • Being aware of the nutrient value of the food
  • Being aware of how particular ingredients affect your health and wellbeing
  • Single-tasking while eating
  • Discovering the joy of cooking and preparing the food you eat
  • Feeling comfortable with your food choices
 

Mindless eating:

  • Poor eating habits – overeating, skipping meals, restricted diet
  • Unhealthy food choices (processed foods, sugary foods, unhealthy snacks)
  • Ignoring body signals (emotional hunger, eating when you are already full, skipping meals etc)
  • Ignoring the interconnection between food choices and health and wellbeing
  • Multitasking while eating aka not focusing on your meal
  • Bad food combos that can cause various health issues
  • Risk of developing eating disorders
  • Risk of malnutrition
  • Eating serves as emotional support (emotional eating)
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Discover The Benefits of Mindful Eating (The NON - diet approach to eating)

  • Eating becomes a ritual
  • Creating a healthy relationship with food
  • Becoming fully present during the entire eating experience
  • Learning to eat with all 5 senses (look, smell, feel, taste, listen)
  • Savoring every bite
  • Making healthy or healthier food choices
  • Avoiding bad food combos that lead to digestive issues
  • Learning to honor the food
  • Being aware of how particular ingredients affect your health and wellbeing
  • Understanding the difference between physical and emotional hunger
  • Making a clean eating grocery list
  • Eating to nourish and energize
  • Choosing a healthy version of comfort foods and favorite snacks
  • Avoiding highly processed, artificial and sugary foods that only ruin your health
  • Avoiding digestive issues
  • Avoiding junk food
 
mindful meal preparation

Risks aka What Mindful Eating Is NOT:

  • It’s not about food restriction
  • It’s not a diet plan
  • It’s not about counting calories
  • It’s not about obsessive thinking about food
  • It’s not for weight loss or weight gain

Simple Ways To Practice Mindful Eating

  • Make eating a pleasurable experience
  • Keep a mindful eating journal (not for counting calories but for tracking macronutrients)
  • Pay attention to the food you eat
  • Eat with all your five senses
  • Eat more slowly, take small bites and enjoy every bite of your meal
  • Try to identify the ingredients
  • Chew your food properly – remember that not chewing your food properly can cause  digestive problems
  • Notice how the food you’re eating affects your body
  • Notice how do you feel immediately after your meal
  • Eliminate distractions – you don’t have to eat in complete silence but create a peaceful atmosphere to be able to focus and fully enjoy your meal
  • Sit at a table
  • Listen to your body – eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full
  • Don’t skip your meals
  • Drink more water
 
nourish your body from the outside and inside

Mindful Eating Apps

  •  
  1. In The Moment (Android/iOS)
  2. Mindful Eating Tracker (Android/iOS)
  3. Am I Hungry? (Android/iOS)
  4. Mindful Meal Timer (Android/iOS)
  5. Mindful Eating (Android/iOS)
  6. Eat, Chew Rest (Android/iOS)
  7. Eat Drink and Be Mindful (Android/iOS)
  8. Time Your Bites! (Android)
  9. Mindful Eating Hypnosis – Eat What You Need (Android)
  10. Mindful Eating Coach (iOS)

 

 

Apps designed for people who struggle with eating disorders:

  1. Rise Up and Recover (Android/iOS)
  2. Eating Disorder Management (iOS)
 
 
 

14 Must-Read Mindful Eating Books

Be mindful

Stay Positive

and practice mindful eating!

xx Kate

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Invisibly Me
Guest

Writing about eating disorders and our own experience of them can be so incredibly difficult, especially putting ourselves out there and being vulernable. I think you should be really proud for writing this and sharing such great points about mindful eating. Also – I think a lot of people, including those without eating disorders, will also often mindlessly eat, and it can cause problems that a change of perspective and behaviour toward mindfully eating can really help address. (ie. overeating, lacking enjoyment in your food, not really dealing with issues in your life that lead you to sit and eat… Read more »

Invisibly Me
Guest

9 years old, that really is heartbreaking. My struggles with bulimia started at age 12-13, and eating disordered thinking permeated for years where the thoughts are still there now, I just don’t act on them. Oddly enough, I went from always wanting to be ‘thin’ to losing a lot of weight through illness & being mortified at how weak & vulnerable I felt when it was weight loss out of my control. I see why you wanted this post to be different and authentic, and I think you did perfectly.x

About Me

Hey, I’m Kate. I am a blogger with a holistic & mindful approach to life. If I am not here it’s because I’m enjoying my creamy cappuccino in one of my favourites coffee shops… 😎

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