My Journey to Mindful Eating

Mindfulness has really helped me establish a healthier relationship with food. I have been recently taking a Mindful Nutrition Course, and I have been looking into healthy eating lately. You would think how does mindfulness and healthy eating go together? Mindfulness makes an individual more aware. With awareness I started to realize what exactly I was eating, and if it is really beneficial for me. I realize with mindfulness it is not only taking care of the mind, but also the body. They go hand in hand. What good is a healthy mind; If you are not fueling the body with the right types of food?

Majority of people tend to eat mindlessly. Eat when you are bored, eat when it is there, eat for comfort, eat to cope,etc,’. This creates an unhealthy habit of eating. I did this a lot, especially eating something, because it is there. Now that I am more aware. I tend to just eat when I need to, or when hungry. A couple of weeks ago there was food at my job, but I already ate my dinner. The old me would have eaten it anyway, but the more mindful me knew I was full, and didn’t need the food, so I didn’t eat it. It was a proud moment for me to take control of my food intake. This is part of the process of building a healthy relationship with food.

I also reduced my sugar intake. I realized how bad sugar is for our bodies through my mindful research. Diabetes 2 has been increasing, and this is due to the high intake of sugar we consume, sometimes we do not realize how much sugar is in food, even in food we don’t think it would be in. Sugar is everywhere. We as consumers tend to not think about that, I didn’t. Some things you may think are healthy, like yogurt, or granola bars have pretty high sugar. I was pretty shocked how much sugar was in my yogurt. I definitely had to make the decision to eat it less.

Practicing mindfulness it isn’t just about mental health, but physical health. It is about learning to take control of the mind, but also the body, and what goes in it. Learning that our bodies need the right type of fuels and nutrients to thrive. The mind needs the right types of nutrients to be at full capacity as well. The mind is no good, if we are fueling our bodies with junk. I learned that mindfulness has to come from a holistic approach of working on the mind and body.

Before being aware of my food intake. I had no knowledge of the type of foods I should eat. I had no clue about the detrimental effects of sugar. I just thought eat less, exercise, or eat food with less calories, maybe look for fat free stuff. I knew fruits and veggies were good for you, but it is much more than that. There are certain types of nutrients we need. I also thought just eat healthy to lose weight, and look good. but it isn’t about losing weight. Our bodies need nutritional based food(fruits,veggies,whole grains,protein,complex carbs,healthy fats) to function. I never realized all the processed junk, and sugar I was taken in. It is quite an awakening to be mindful, and knowledgeable of my food intake.

I like to live a long, fulfilling life. I like to be able to function when I am older. I want to be mentally sound and clear headed. I don’t want to be stuck in hospitals, sick all the time, racking up hospital bills. I can’t control any illnesses, or any accidents, but I can control what I consume that can reduce any diseases or illnesses. I do what I can control. Eating healthier, and having a healthy relationship with food can help me live a longer and more fulfilling life. I realize too much food consumption, or too little, and too much sugar can be dangerous to the body.

Ever since I have changed my eating lifestyle. I have lost and maintained my weight. I never realized that eating the right type of foods promotes weight lose and maintenance. I do now. I do exercise as well, but that is to keep my body toned, and your body also needs physical activity as well.

With this new mindful eating lifestyle. I have more self-control of what I eat. My awareness allows me to think before I eat something I shouldn’t, or don’t need to. Do I really need this? Am I hungry? Am I eating this for a reason?(sadness,comfort, boredom,etc,.). If I need something sweet. I grab a fruit. If I need a snack. I grab my carrots, or nuts.

Now I still eat my doughnuts, cake, ice cream,chocolates, and other sweet/junk foods. I love food, and I don’t want to deprive myself. I just learned to limit myself to those things. I try not to keep it in the house often. I don’t necessarily crave these things as much anymore. Your body gets used to what you eat regularly. I was not really a fan of eating carrots by itself, but eventually I was able to do so from continuous eating of it. I tend to like to eat 90% healthy and use the other ten percent to eat things that may not be the best for me, but I enjoy eating.

You may think you cannot go without unhealthy foods, but you may surprise yourself with what you can do if you stay consistent, motivated, and passionate about living a healthier lifestyle. With mindful practice I learned how to put the right fuel for my body. I realized not only does my mind need attention, but so does my body. It is about having an all around approach to healthy living.


Building Healthy Habits

This post is a continuation of the last post Breaking Bad Habits. There was more I wanted to add, but thought I would make a separate post for it. This is more for building healthy habits, and reducing bad ones.

Habits are created through consistency and repetition. These can be good or bad habits. Unhealthy habits are easier to get into, but it does no good for your body, and mind in the long run. We just focus on the instant satisfaction it gives us.

Healthy habits are difficult to obtain, because they take more work, and may seem not to be as satisfying. It is interesting how the good things for us are harder to achieve, but that is life. But my mindset is life is about hard work. We are here to learn, improve and grow, and that can’t be done on an easy path.

Healthy habits may be hard at first, but once you are a consistent with the habit. It becomes a whole lot easier. It will become part of your daily routine. You will even start to enjoy doing it. It is all about getting your mind and body habituated to it. Once you are able to do that there will be vast improvement to your well-being mentally, emotionally, and physically.

This is why people feel like they need to do those unhealthy habits. It is because your body is used to it. That doesn’t mean it is essential for you, or good for you. The body and mind wants what it is used to. The withdrawals aren’t fun, which is why people stick to unhealthy habits, but if you learn to push through them, it gets easier.

Once your mind and body is used to something it will seek those things. If it is a good habit, then it benefits you. If it is a bad habit, then it can be quite damaging. It can be quite difficult leaving behind bad habits. I know, I struggled as well to build healthy habits, rather than bad ones.

I say try to start small. Cutting it off completely can make you crave it more. The best thing you can do is wean yourself off of the habit. To the point where you no longer have the need to do the habit. The body will crave the habit less when done less frequently. This also goes for starting up a healthy habit. Try not to overdo it. This will most likely make you want to quit.

I have to say some of my healthy habits were not enjoyable at first, and hard to maintain. Drinking water more, and reducing sugar drinks was tough, but after awhile. I no longer craved sugar drinks as much, and I now enjoy drinking water. Your body gets used to consistent habits. This goes for the other healthy habits I maintained as well. The habit becomes easier to do, and becomes part of your routine.The start is always the toughest, which is why most give up.

There are a couple of things that can help build healthy habits, and help reduce unhealthy ones as well.

  • Awareness
  • Motivation/Determination
  • Planning/writing it down/implementing the habits
  • Bring it into your daily life
  • Start small

All this can lead to improvement of your mind, body, and soul. It is all about thinking about the long term, rather than the short term.

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