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Listen to Your Body, Eat Mindfully

By Paul Rothbart

Eating well is one of the keys to staying healthy. The right nutrients defend against illness, keep the body functioning, and help maintain a healthy weight. It can be difficult to keep up with healthy eating. Cravings are common and the distractions of daily life put our attention elsewhere. One solution is mindful eating. This is being attuned to the body, deeply aware of its needs and what it communicates to you. It sounds mystical, like a Jedi trick, but it is borne out by research and something the average person can learn to do.

What It Is

Mindful eating is a heightened awareness of every aspect of consuming a meal. Paying attention to what is happening inside the body and within the mind. It also involves an awareness of the foods being eaten and how they are prepared. By utilizing all five senses, you can come to a realization of how various affect you. Some may energize, others bring out lethargy. Locking in to how a meal impacts moods and physical feeling will enable choosing what the body needs. 

Discovering Food Issues

Registered dietitian and author, Shira Lenchewski, proposes that there are five bad eating habits that many people have. An individual may have more than one. These can be trust issues, where a person cannot stop eating. Another is being a pleaser and acquiescing to eating what others choose. Fearing the mundane is a worry that healthy food is not exciting enough and too bland. Craving control is punishing oneself for the slightest misstep when dieting. Finally, there is the hot and cold pattern. This involves cycling between a strict diet and eating whatever appeals to you at the moment. A big part of mindful eating is being aware which of these habits you may have fallen into. Then a way to break the habit can be sought.

Mindful Reflection at the End of a Meal

After finishing with eating, whether with a clean plate or before, take some time to reflect on the meal and the experience. Think about how satisfying it was. Not just in terms of hunger, but how it satisfied other senses, sight, smell, sound, the sense  of texture. If any of them were not satisfied, tune into the body and try to determine what it would take to fully satisfy that sense. It will take time and practice to develop this ability, but it will be worthwhile. It will help to figure out what the body needs in a meal to be truly and fully satisfied and cut out between meal snacking.

There are many diets and ways to eat healthy. At the end of the day, the body knows best what it needs and wants. It may not work for everyone, but giving mindful eating a try could be the key that opens the door to healthy eating. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sacramento, Calif. 

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