Mindful eating is all about getting you to fall in love with real food, which nourishes your health, vitality and well-being. It encourages you to really think about what you eat and listen to your instincts, putting you back into control of your eating habits.
These 5 tips will start you on your path to eating more mindfully, so you can ditch the fad diets and start to learn to love food again.
1. Get organised
People who successfully maintain healthy eating habits are typically very organized about food, and this, like any other habit, is one you can learn. When you take steps to become more organized about food, you are laying the perfect foundations for success.
Take a look at your weekly schedule and plan your time for shopping, preparing, and cooking food, and eating your meals. When you plan what you are going to eat, not only will it help you to be in complete and conscious control of your food choices, food shopping will also become much easier and you will find that you spend and waste less too.
Choose to keep a stock of nutritious, portable snacks readily available. Make a fruit salad or a super salad in advance and store in the fridge so you can easily take a portion out and about with you.Take a packed lunch to work. Plan to succeed.
Make sure your kitchen is a place you want to spend time cooking in - invest in the rights pots, pans and dishes to cook the food you want to.
2. Keep a food journal
Once a behavior is learned and repeated several times, your unconscious mind does it for you. It's virtually effortless. This goes for good habits (brushing your teeth, going to the gym, meditating, preparing healthy food) as well as unwanted ones (snacking on chips and cookies, eating take-out).
Keeping a food journal can help you to identify bad eating habits that you may not even realise you are doing - are you eating a cookie with a cup of coffee everyday, or eating snacks while watching television? Once you know what your habits are you can think about why you have them and how you can change them.
3. Make every meal special
Meals can be spread over many courses and many hours. In our "lunch is for wimps" culture we can often make a virtue out of devouring food as quickly as possible, eating at our desk, or grabbing a snack and getting back to work. As far as we are concerned, however, anything worth eating is worth making a meal over. Even the simplest dinner should be a cornucopia of different tastes and textures. You have five different senses for a reason: aim for each meal to satisfy as many of them as possible and you will feel truly sated.
You can make every meal a special occasion even if you are short on time. Lay the table, even if you're on your own, and celebrate the lovely, healthy food to which you are treating your body Present the food beautifully and enjoy every mouthful.
4. Dare to do something different
Another great way to loosen the grip of a habit is to interrupt it as soon as you become aware of it. When a pattern is altered it starts to fall apart. You would come out of a mindless eating trance naturally if you noticed something unexpected on your plate, but you can also break the trance deliberately. Once a habit is interrupted, it begins to fall away.
Set yourself a challenge to do something outside your comfort zone. Do something totally different with food this week like trying a new food or food combination, or eating with your fingers or using chopsticks. This will force you out of your usual eating habits and make change so much easier.
5. Eat the rainbow
If your daily diet includes a rainbow of colors, it will ensure that you are obtaining the widest possible range of nutrients from your food. Fruits and vegetables in particular come in a whole spectrum of different colors. If you include a rich variety of natural colors in your diet, every day becomes a visual feast for your senses and an excellent way to boost your health mindfully.
For more tips on how to eat mindfully, check out Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew and Mandy Pearson.