Mindful eating is a start in the path to overall well being. The simple practice of being present with food builds our inner confidence.
When we ignore our body's natural cues, we are essentially telling ourselves we aren't trustworthy and placing control into outside sources. Being present with food helps start that positive confidence cycle.
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Ashley Kitchens is a plant-based registered dietitian and nutrition coach, who works with clients all over the world. She reversed all of her chronic GI issues with a plant-based diet.
Now, she helps people mindfully and confidently choose foods that align with their health, their goals, and their taste buds.
Download her free Guided Mindful Eating Activity here!
You can find more about her and all she does on her website Plant Centered Prep.
You can also follow her on Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook and her Private Facebook Group.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is basically a form of meditation related to food. It's being in the moment with all things food and your body.
Whether it's being present when you eat, listening to your body and honoring what it wants, or being flexible when it comes to changing up what you had planned to eat because it doesn't sound good anymore, mindful eating helps you be in the moment and honor your body.
While it shares some similarities with intuitive eating, intuitive eating is more specific and follows a 10 principal structure.
Mindful eating focuses simply on listening to your inner wisdom, almost like kids. We are born with the ability to listen to our body, but as we grow and outside factors affect us, we slowly lose it.
How to Practice Mindful Eating
Whenever you want to make a change, you should start small. It doesn't happen over night. We are so used to immediate gratification in today's world, but mindfulness takes time and practice.
Ashley works with clients on mindful eating in her practice. She starts by assessing where her clients are with their food relationship. Because you need to know where you are starting.
Mindful eating is a lot of mental and emotional work. It's basically healing a relationship with your body. Much like you'd heal a relationship with another person.
She believes that you need to start by creating awareness, because awareness precedes change. So starting with figuring out triggers, documenting your feelings and emotions and asking yourself why are all things that can help.
Mindful eating isn't something that will happen instantly, especially if you have spent a long time jumping from diet to diet. It takes time and can take many months.
Examples of mindful eating
Some ways you can practice eating mindfully are:
- Sitting down to eat away from work, TV, and devices.
- Focus on the actual eating, the flavors, textures, smells and even the process itself.
- Take deep breaths and feel relaxed.
- Ask yourself if what you have in front of you is something you actually want to eat.
- Be okay if what you had planned to eat, isn't what you crave in the moment and change it up! Honor what your body is telling you.
We aren't aiming for perfection. It isn't something you need to do all of the time. But the more you practice, the more it will come naturally.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
Any time you practice honoring your body, you are bettering yourself. Eating is just one way you can practice self respect.
When your body tells you something and you ignore it, it's like telling yourself what you want isn't good enough. And then giving control to an outside source.
But when you honor your body's natural cues, you are building confidence. You are telling yourself that you are good enough to listen to and that helps build up your inner self trust.
This will spill over to other areas of life. If we are confident inside, that confidence shines. And we are overall more successful with all we do.
Diet Culture and Mindful Eating
Diets forbid things, they tell you what you can't have. When we are told about things we can't do, our human nature has us thinking about those things.
This can lead to binging, which then makes you feel like a failure and the cycle continues. The all or nothing idea behind diets set us up for failure.
Mindful eating eliminates that restriction. It allows you to control what you eat, and this leads to feeling success. Which starts a positive cycle of self confidence.
So much of diet culture is focused on weight loss. But Ashley believes in the set point theory, when you are eating and moving mindfully, your body will stay within a range that is healthy for itself.
Tips to Get Started with Mindful Eating
- Try and eliminate distractions when you sit and eat meals.
- Create awareness with what it is your body wants, for example are you eating because your hungry or emotional? Are you eating what you feel like eating in that moment?
It's so important to get back in touch to what your body is telling you. Learning to truly enjoy food will lead to overall health and well being!
Don't forget to download Ashely's free Guided Mindful Eating Activity here!
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