We are all creatures of habit, taking the same route to work each day, going to the same class at the gym each week, making dinner, doing the dishes (hopefully) and going to bed. The problem with this is we’re often acting WITHOUT AWARENESS!
To recognize what our eating habits or patterns are we must examine how, when, why and what we eat and start recognizing what we’re truly hungry for. Does this make sense??
Here are some ways to bring awareness to your eating habits…
Pay attention to what you’re doing when you’re eating. For example, do you eat while you’re driving, watching tv or reading?? If so you are probably not noticing the amount of food you’re consuming nor can you really enjoy it as you’re distracted by something else. When it comes time to eat, take time to prepare your food, then sit down, take your time to chew your food and enjoy it! It took a lot of time to prepare so why not take time to enjoy it and help your body digest better.
Notice if you have negative associations with food. If you are one of those people who after a bad day, a fight with your friend or partner you automatically head to the freezer to find the ice cream and a large spoon (or any other food you turn to in a time of crisis) you need to practice staying present with the argument and your response to it. Instead of turning to old eating patterns in a time of stress try reacting with the insight of the present moment and positive thoughts and this will help you get rid of the worst of your eating habits (midnight munching, binge eating an entire bag of chips, etc).
Still with me?
Take a time out. So many things throughout our day can trigger a MUST EAT NOW feeling. The smell of doughnuts, fresh bread, french fries etc but instead of answering to the smells wait for 5 minutes. Scan your body for signs of hunger, is your stomach grumbling? Are you really hungry or just stressed? Or are you feeling the urge to eat out of impulse? Learn to become aware of what’s going on within you in that moment and you won’t respond habitually. If you’re feeling stressed you’ll probably be more satisfied if you deal with what’s causing the stress than if you eat a doughnut. In fact, eating a doughnut might cause you more stress 😦 If you are actually hungry listen to what your body needs (protein, fat or complex carbs) instead of what it wants. If after 5 minutes you still want the doughnut then get it! But enjoy it with every bite and notice how it tastes and how you feel while doing so 😉
Before eliminating old habits it’s good to know what they are.Through regular observation you’ll start to recognize which foods make you feel healthy and satisfied and you will begin to trust your instincts and know when enough is enough.
So starting today, tune into your own inner signals, shift your perspective and you’ll know exactly when to pick up the fork and when to put it down again. Embrace food for what it is: fuel for life!!
To read more about the ‘Inner Wisdom Diet’, check out Yoga Journal’s “Yoga for Fitness and Health” magazine. I found some great articles on nutrition and yummy recipes 🙂