Mindful eating is the most challenging part of living with more presence and awareness for me. Talk about never being done! I am constantly practicing the tools that I share in Chapter 3 of my new book “Get the Most Out of Motherhood: A Hot Mess to Mindful Mom Parenting Guide,” because if I don’t, I will scarf my food and not even remember what it tastes like, or notice when I feel full.
I wanted to highlight one of the tools for you because it is one that you may not be implementing and it has really helped me a ton. Asking myself this question has helped me to make better choices around food, and to really get to the bottom of how I am feeling…basically practicing mindfulness, which is moment to moment awareness without judgement.
Are you really hungry, or is it something else?
Snacking can be really habitual. Maybe we always have a snack when our kids do, or always at 3:00 pm or while watching TV after dinner. Just because we have created this habit doesn’t mean we can’t break it! Working from home means I am near my kitchen all the time. I realized that I had certain patterns around eating, such as eating to procrastinate, eating when I’m bored, and breaking off a piece of a dark chocolate bar every single day after lunch.
Paying attention to the signals our body gives us around hunger can help to break these habits. Hunger comes on slowly and builds, whereas cravings come on strong and fast.
I heard a tip from a nutritionist recently that really made sense. She suggested using the fruit rule. If you feel hungry and would be willing to have fruit, you are most likely legitimately hungry. However, if the only thing you’d be willing to eat is a bowl of ice cream or cookies, you are having a craving.
I have also come to realize that I occasionally eat when really I am thirsty. Sometimes a cup of tea or a big glass of water is what my body is really craving — I have upped my water consumption to half my body weight in ounces a day, and now that I am properly hydrated, I don’t crave snacks all day like I used to.
So next time you are feeling sudden cravings, try asking yourself questions like:
- Am I thirsty?
- Am I feeling stressed, and do I need some deep breaths to help me relax?
- Am I eating because I’m bored?
- Is this a habit, or am I truly hungry?
- Am I avoiding a certain feeling?
This has helped to change my relationship to food, and I hope it serves you as well.
If you would like more self-care tools for you and your family, tips for setting up systems in your home to help life flow, and ways to connect to your kids in meaningful ways, grab your copy of “Get the Most Out of Motherhood: A Hot Mess to Mindful Mom Parenting Guide” HERE!