I’ll never forget the time I was sitting in my college nutrition class, spacing out about what I’d be doing after class, how much I didn’t want to be there, and why the lighting is always so terrible in classrooms. How am I supposed to learn in this light?! I looked up and saw the professor had pulled out orange slices. This immediately caught my attention. “Yes! Free food!” As a college student, any free food was like winning NCAA March Madness. But of course there was a catch...
Before eating the free food, the teacher required us to examine the orange using all of our senses and provide a detailed explanation. “Sigh.” Ok fine but as long as I get to eat it after! We looked at its yellow translucence against the light, inhaled the bright energizing scent, felt the cool and smooth of the skin on our fingers, didn’t hear much other than a squish or slosh, and finally…tasted it. The tart flavor overwhelmed my palate. The juice quenched my thirst. The orange tasted; different. I was awake. And those ugly lights had nothing on me!
Being so resistant to this activity at the time, it has since, changed my life. It taught me about mindfulness and mindful eating. Mindfulness is defined as the state of active and open attention on the present moment. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. It means living in the moment and awakening to experience (1)
Let's give it a try:
• Focus on your breathing.
• Notice; really notice, what you are sensing in the moment. The sights, sounds, smells, that usually go un-noticed.
• Recognize that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you. Simply observe.
• Tune into your body's physical sensation. How the chair or floor feels beneath you (2)
When applied to the eating experience, mindfulness can help regulate weight, improve health, and increase the pleasure of the eating experience. "Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for resolving this troubled love-hate relationship with food." (3)
Many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognized or unexamined triggers, thoughts, and feelings. They re-act, repeating past actions again and again. This can lead to feeling powerless and unable to change. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions. At Natural Balance Nutrition, our mission is to assist clients in improving overall health and establishing a healthy relationship with food and body weight through mindful eating. We are here to help you rediscover your intuition through mindfulness practices. Our specially trained RDNs have education and experience in guiding clients through the mindful and eating process.
Visit our website to learn more about mindful eating, our team, and how to get started in being present during the eating experience.
With all our love,
Shelly Starrett, MS, MSHN, RDN
Lisa Booth, MSHN, RDN, GFI
Leslie Beggs, RDN, CPT, GFI
1) Psychology Today. Mindfulness [Internet] Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness
2) Greater Good. What is Mindfulness? [Internet] Available from: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition
3) Am I Hungry? [Internet] Available from: http://amihungry.com/what-is-mindful-eating/
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