6 Things To Ask Yourself When Eating
Everyone is talking about “mindful eating” and you’re over here like “Does that mean I count the cookies before I cram them in my pie-hole so I’m aware of how many I ate?”
Mindful eating is an easy concept, but a lot of it is about learning to trust yourself around food and uncovering the root behind why you struggle…and that is not easy. You want to eat mindfully but aren’t sure where to start, or even what it really means. You do know one thing, you’re so damn tired of diets. You name it, you’ve tried it and you’re looking for a better way.
Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes and that is what lead me to study mindful eating, as well as go to school to become a certified holistic nutrition specialist. This month my focus is helping you feel a little better about your nutrition game; from what types of food help propel you to feel your best, to the basics of mindful eating.
One of the biggest questions I get from my nutrition clients is they feel a little uncertain what it even means to eat mindfully. I’m a big supporter of mindfulness in all things, so if I’m living mindfully, I’m eating mindfully. However, until you’re feeling like a mindfulness wizard, you can start by building your mindful eating practice.
It is tuning in to what is going on inside your mind, body, and environment. Have you ever sat down to eat a sandwich, while you were doing something else and found that your sandwich was gone but you don’t really remember eating it? Or what about when you’re watching Netflix with a bag of chips and before you know it, the chip bag is empty…and even worse, YOU ARE STILL HUNGRY?
When we eat distracted, and don’t tune into our body we miss the sensations to let us know we’re satisfied (meaning happy with what we ate), and satisfied (meaning full). I like to keep things nice and simple or as Maria sings in ‘The Sound of Music’, “let’s start at the very beginning; that’s a very good place to start!”
Here are a couple basic questions you can start asking yourself as you are kicking off your mindful eating journey & why they matter.
When you sit down to eat, take 3–5 deep breaths to activate healthy digestion. (This is a great time for a gratitude practice) As you take your first bite, ask yourself the following questions.
What does this smell like?
What does this taste like?
What are is the texture like?
Do I like this? / Am I still enjoying this?
What do I want to eat? / Would I like something else?
How hungry/full am I?
As I mentioned before we want to be satisfied, but not just satisfied as in no longer hungry. There are pleasure receptors in our brain, waiting to be satisfied as well. When you ask the first 3 questions, you’re engaging the senses and activating your ability to “enjoy” your food.
The next 3 questions begin to evaluate if you’re eating what you really want, if you’re eating what your body is craving for, and gauging your hunger. It’s important to gauge how hungry you are as you begin to eat. If you’d rate that you’re “STARVING”, you can make a mental note that you may be predisposed to eating too fast or too much.
Ask these questions a couple times as you are eating. Put down your fork after 5–10 minutes. Have a few sips of water or tea and and re-evaluate. Many of my clients describe a realization after say a few bites of a rich starchy food, since they’d taken time to smell it/savor it/enjoy it they were satisfied and no longer wanted more.
I had a client that found she often craved a banana, or another piece of fruit when she took time to ask herself “what do I want to eat?”; and instead of reaching for seconds, she ate something her body thanked her fo.
Asking these questions during meal time can help you begin to tune it to you when you’re full and learn to satisfy all the senses not just physical hunger. It will also help you begin to learn to ask your body what it’s ACTUALLY hungry for.