But first, mindless eating...
...we've talked about mindless eating in the past. Mindless eating is the eating that you do when you're just watching TV, or at the movies downing a large popcorn by yourself with a large soda, or when you've maybe had a few drinks and suddenly you've eaten all the chips and salsa in the house.
Basically, mindless eating is eating simply because there's food there and not because you're hungry or trying to recover from a workout.
So today, we're going to talk about Mindful Eating.
What is mindful eating, you may ask? Good question, here we go!
Mindful eating is a concept that allows you to be in full control of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions while you're eating. It allows you to become more aware of your hunger cues, whether they are physical or emotional.
The basics of mindful eating are:
- listening to physical cues versus emotional
- eating as slowly as you can
- really focusing on the tastes, textures and smells of your foods
- learning to understand your guilt or anxiety about certain foods
- eating to maintain your exercise, not more
- noticing how foods effect your feelings and body
- appreciating your food more
- answering the "one simple question" (more on this in a bit)
In modern America, we're constantly surrounded by food. It's usually highly processed garbage, but food nonetheless. It's pretty easy for us to wander to the break room at work when we're bored, grab a handful of animal cookies and stand there and eat them. Then maybe we'll grab a soda and head back to our desk and sit for another 4 hours. Maybe we'll repeat that a few times a day and suddenly we've eaten/drank 2,000-3,000 calories of processed sugar and carbohydrates without even noticing.
It happens, that's just the nature of our society right now. Easy access to highly processed "stuff". We get bored and end up grazing in the kitchen. I'm guilty of that as well.
It takes up to 20 minutes to realize that we’re full and some of the processed foods that we eat and can cause us to eat much more than we realize. Carbohydrates and fats don’t signal the brain that we’re full like protein and fats do. That’s why so many of our snack foods are engineered to have loads of carbs and fat and that makes them extremely palatable to us and why we eat much more of it than we should.
So, how do we solve this?
As mentioned above in the bullet points, there are a few things that we can do.
Are you listening to your physical cues or emotional ones? Ask yourself as you’re reaching for a snack, “Am I bored or am I hungry?” This particular one has really helped me out a lot.
Am I eating slowly? Eating as slowly as possible will vastly decrease the amount of food that you will eat. Your body will have time to react and you’ll find yourself eating less.
How does this taste? Eating slowly will also allow you to “taste” your food more since it’s spending more time in your mouth. Is it too salty? Is it sweet? What’s the texture like? Experience this in every meal. Get connected with your food.
Are you anxious or feeling guilty as you’re eating something? Well, this should go without saying, but you probably shouldn’t eat it if you are feeling guilty or anxious about it. If you do eat it, that’s OK! It happens sometimes, just make a note of how you felt when you did eat it and move on.
How often are you working out? If you’re in the gym 4-5 days a week and running a couple of times a week, you’re probably going to need to eat a little more food. Relax, you’ve probably earned it. That doesn’t mean that you get to eat all the cookies and ice cream that you want, it just means that you should eat for the activity that you’re doing. If you spend a lot of time at a desk or are only in the gym 1-3 times a week, you might not need as much food. Eat for the activity that you’re performing, not more.
How is this food making you feel, emotionally and physically? When you eat something and you notice that you’re tired or depressed afterward, it might be a good idea to avoid that particular food in the future. It takes some time to figure out the foods that can affect you but it’s important to know what different foods can do to us mentally and physically. If you eat something and it PHYSICALLY causes you pain, see a doctor! Maybe you have an allergy or sensitivity to it.
Are you appreciating your food? This goes back to eating slowly. If you’re eating slowly, it’s easier to focus on the different flavors and textures as mentioned above. Doing this will really help you start to appreciate your food more and you’ll notice that certain things that you liked when you wolfed them down, aren’t as good as you remembered them by eating them very slowly.
The “one simple question”. I mentioned this earlier and said that I’d get into this a little more. Like it says, it’s one simple question. When you’re about to eat something, ask yourself, “Is this helping me reach my goal or hurting my goal?” It’s amazing how easy this is. As you get up from your desk and grab a handful of those animal cookies, ask yourself that one simple question. If the answer is a resounding “YES” then eat that food. If it’s a “NO”, don’t eat that food. Simple, right?
Again, if you need more assistance with nutrition, feel free to respond to this email, give me a call/text , or talk to me in the gym and we can schedule and appointment to dig in a bit deeper.
There is also our ProCoach Program available. We'll be opening up a few more spots in a couple of months, so head over here and fill out the contact form at the bottom and we'll lock you in as an early bird.
It's going to be a great week! Let's have some fun in the gym, eat enough good food to support our fitness and let's get after it!