I’ve been rather displeased with myself. I do not have a good relationship with food, and I am acutely aware of this fact. I tend to “yoyo” diet. There’s a cycle cycle after cycle of “gotta get in shape, yay I love exercise and healthy food, ugh I don’t have time to work out or cook at home today, I like myself the way I am, man I don’t feel good/feel good about myself.” So I started practicing mindfulness.
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In the interest of not only improving my health but also my relationship with food, I have taken up mindful or intuitive eating. I used to see things on Pinterest about mindfulness and I just thought it was a huge crock. But now that I’ve started I am amazed. Eating mindfully is easily one of the more difficult changes I’ve made. I’ve only been at it for a few days, but I think it’s safe to say it’s not something that comes naturally to me. I’m obviously not an authority on the subject, but I’m going to share some things that I’m learning and tools that I’m using!
Why I started Practicing Mindfulness and How
I Eat Way Too Fast
I kind of already knew this. Most of the time, I’m done with my meal and Ryan still has half of it left on his plate. Part of this is because Ryan talks a lot during dinner. But even when I’m having good conversation I tend to just stuff my face. I love food and I want to eat it fast! There’s a lot of problems with this, like indigestion, and others that I’ll get into in a little bit.
So to combat this I’ve started using the app EatChewRest (android app not currently available). This app has a visual timer to tell you how long to “eat” (which I interpret as cutting my food and getting it on my fork) “chew” and “rest”. It has three speed settings which is nice since it takes a lot less effort to eat something like a cookie than a chicken breast. Obviously I don’t use this tool when eating with people besides Ryan. And I hope to stop using it after a few months. But right now I’m simply retraining myself to slow down.
I Eat After I’m Full
I also kind of knew this, but not to the extent that I know it now. Part of the problem before was that I was eating so fast that I didn’t recognize when I was full. Now I realize that even when I know that I’m full I often continue eating. Food tastes good and I like eating it. Part of the “rest” part of EatChewRest is listening to your body and determining whether you need to keep eating. So far I’ve had about 50% success in stopping myself when I need to.
I Eat When I’m Not Hungry
In the same vein, definitely knew this, and don’t we all? I eat when I’m bored. I eat because I feel like it. I’m not really an emotional eater, but I eat for absolutely no reason which might be worse. I got an app called Am I Hungry? which takes you through a series of questions to determine whether you’re actually hungry and what to do about it. I like it because it doesn’t just say “You’re not hungry, don’t eat” but gives you the option to eat anyway as long as you’re nourishing your body. It’s not a free app, but for only $3 I think it’s worth it.
I Need to Practice Acknowledgement
Although I’m not really an emotional eater I can definitely see a difference in my eating practices based on the setting, my mood, and my hunger level before dinner. It’s also super easy to forget or brush off the feeling of eating too much. So I created a spreadsheet. If you know me well you know I love spreadsheets. It’s a thing. It’s not a complicated sheet, but it helps me record those things. I can look back on my week and think about why I ate too much or why I ate just the right amount.
I Eat Food I Don’t Need
When I actually am hungry it’s really easy to reach for goldfish crackers, cookies, chips, whathaveyou. While I do my best to not even keep these things around, Ryan still eats them. So I put them where I can’t reach them. I also have some accountability through a Beach Body Challenge group. I highly recommend joining some kind of accountability group to keep on track.
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