Day 23 – Mindful Eating and Mindful Living Mindset

be here now

It really gets easier as you move forward, getting more and more accustomed to this new lifestyle. But easier doesn’t mean that you should go through your new life unaware of it – actually, paying attention to what you’re doing is an incredibly powerful way to make it all even more easy, even more fun.

Mindlessness and Mindfulness

Most people go through their life unaware of the thoughts they’re having, the reasons why they react in a certain way, why they made this and not that choice… They live most of their life on autopilot, letting their unconscious thoughts direct it.

We think between 40,000-60,000 thoughts in one day alone, and about 90% of them are unconscious, or they don’t stick around long enough for us to consciously register them. Many of them are repetitive – the thoughts we had yesterday, the day before and for who knows how long.

Why is that important to you? Well, if you go through your life unaware of the thoughts that cause a certain behavior, they, and not you, will rule your life. This is called mindless living.

The opposite of that is mindful living. Mindfulness means that you make a shift out of the autopilot, and into the present moment.

Think about what happens when you wash your hands, for example. If you’re like most people, you aren’t being present in that moment; the action is so routine that it doesn’t require your conscious presence, so your thoughts wonder to your job, the problems you’re having with your partner or somewhere else. This makes you reflect on the things that don’t need reflection, and skipping the moment that is happening right now.

And when you come to think of it, the present moment is all you actually have. How many of them have you lost so far?

Mindful living involves being present, attentive to what is happening right now, without labeling or judging it – just being aware of it.

It is a great thing to be mindful about your life in general – it helps you to train your thoughts and to control the direction they’re taking, which eventually leads to becoming an impartial observer of your own experience, without getting caught up in endless reflections. You can probably see the immediate benefits of taking this attitude: it makes you more calm and relaxed in your day to day life.

But mindfulness is also extremely helpful in weight loss, no matter whether it’s the nutrition or the exercise part that you’re struggling with; just by becoming present in the moment, by giving your full attention to what you’re doing right now, you can achieve calm and relaxation through the food you’re taking or the exercise you’re doing.

And once you realize that such a simple thing like eating mindfully can calm you down, you can bet that you won’t be needing to go back to your old habits, never again.

What Is Mindful Eating and How to Master It

man eating a cookie and drinking hot beverage

How are you eating your breakfast? It’s probably while thinking a million other things, barely even looking at what you’re eating, talking to your spouse or planning your day… Mindfully eating your breakfast would involve just eating your breakfast, paying attention to the smells, tastes, texture, chewing slowly, listening to your stomach when it tells you it was enough.

Mindful eating isn’t a diet – it’s just experiencing the food differently, more intensely, and enjoying it more. How many times have you had a candy bar and wished you had just one more bite? If you listened to your body, you’d know it was enough. But you didn’t, you listened to your subconscious chatter.

How many times have you gone to bed feeling stuffed, how many times have you eaten everything on the plate even though you didn’t need that much (or if you have the habit of eating your kids’ leftovers because your mother taught you that you shouldn’t waste food)?

Eating mindfully isn’t only a self-control thing; it’s been proven that it can reduce weight and blood sugar levels. Recently there was a study where people with Type 2 diabetes were divided in two groups: one of them was practicing mindful eating (eating only when they were hungry, judging how hungry they felt and not just eating because it was meal time, and listening to their bodies – what food they needed and how much of it was enough); the other group followed a strict diet based on nutrition information.

Both groups lost about the same amount of weight and significantly lowered their long-term blood sugar levels. See the point?

Effective Mindful Eating Strategies

Before cooking a meal or going to the restaurant, think about if you’re really hungry.

Just because it’s traditional meal time, it doesn’t mean that you have to eat. Listen to your body, it knows better.

Think about how hungry you are, and how much food you need to take.

You don’t have to eat everything that is on the plate. If you don’t like to waste food, then prepare a smaller meal

Stop multitasking when you eat.

When you eat, just eat. No TV, no newspapers, no talking on the phone, no conversation. Focus your attention to the food and how your body feels.

Chew slowly and focus on each mouthful.

No need to go to the extremes and chew each mouthful 5 minutes, but make sure that your food is well broken down before you swallow. It will help you to better experience the taste and the texture, and it will improve your digestion: saliva in your mouth is the first step in digesting, so if you chew your food properly, it means less work for the rest of your digestive system.

Think about what your body wants.

A hot dog could be your first thought when you’re hungry, but now that you have tried more foods, you can make a different choice all by listening to your body – is a hot dog what it really needs?

You now have more knowledge about nutrition, so slow your thoughts down and think mindfully about the food. Your body is intelligent, it will tell you what food it wants – trust it.

That’s all, folks! For today anyway; tomorrow we have a huge motivator for you – until then, be patient and mindful 🙂