The Mindfulness Eating Action steps focuses on  HOW we are eating. Our lives are busy- full of delicious food- and sometimes emotional triggers as well. Eating delicious food can bring back warm memories of childhood. We might also overeat simply because we are starving since we are so busy! The Mindfulness program will be working on various ACTION STEPS around HOW we eat. I hope you enjoy!

Download the Mindfulness Eating Journal

Today we’re going to talk about what I call honoring hunger and fullness. HOW you eat. In other words, who are you being when you eat? Do you eat when you’re not actually hungry because it’s noon and you’re mentally programmed that at noon it’s time to eat? Do you eat too little or too much for your body’s energy needs? The place we’re going to start is what I call honoring hunger. How do we honor hunger? Honoring hunger is about recognizing what happens internally before you get hungry. Instead of waiting until you’re so hungry you could eat a horse, you tune in to the internal signal that the body needs nourishment. It’s kind of like the gas tank on your car. There’s a buffer zone when you get in the red. When the gas light first appears, depending on your car you may have 20-30 miles to go before you actually run out of gas and come to a halt. We don’t want to wait until we run out of gas to eat. Why? Because that’s when the we go overboard with eating. Notice what happens when you are super hungry. Do your eyes glaze over and slump in your chair unable to do anything? Do you become unreasonable? Who do you take it out on? Do you end up eating things that you wouldn’t normally choose to eat simply because it’s within reach and you feel desperate? If you let yourself get too hungry, it’s almost impossible to think clearly or make good decisions for ourselves. The need to feel physically full becomes so irresistible you’ll eat almost anything – 5 pieces of toast, a candy bar, a whole pint of ice cream, cocoa powder with a spoon, tomato sauce and breadsticks. And even after you eat all that, you may still feel unsatisfied because it wasn’t a real meal. The body’s appetite mechanism is still searching for the meal, and it won’t shut down until you’ve had what feels like a meal. So the first step is to recognize the hunger. What lets you know that you will soon be hungry? What are the signs? Please journal them…

This week we start adding in our own HUNGER SCALE. Now we’re going to create your own hunger scale from 1-10. 2 is when the gas light would come on. It’s the indicator that it’s time to plan for nourishment. 10 would be super hungry. We don’t want to let it get past a 5 or there’s a good chance you’ll be setting yourself up for poor food decisions or a binge. Start to plan for food when you are at a 1-2. Make sense? Great. Now let’s talk about honoring fullness. We can also create a fullness scale from 1-10. 10 is so stuffed that you need to unbutton your pants to breathe. What we’re looking for is a 7 on the fullness scale. 7 is where you are nourished and energized from food, satiated not stuffed. It means eating to about 75% fullness. and it tastes so good so you pick off one more piece from the serving dish… then you are engaged in conversation and you mindlessly pick another piece, before you know it your belly hurts and you’re wishing you didn’t overeat. Does that sound familiar? So let’s talk about creating some new habits especially around fullness because that’s where most people get tripped up.

Here are 6 ways you can practice honoring your inner intuitive hunger and fullness scale:

1. Start planning what and when to eat when you are at a level 2 on the hunger/ fullness scale.

2. Eat for energy (aim for Level 7 on your inner intuitive scale, versus a Level 10 when you’re so full you have to unzip your pants 😉

3. Make a physical gesture that your meal is complete by pushing your plate away, putting a napkin over it, or crossing your silverware.

4. Declare out loud to yourself or whomever you are eating with that you are full. This will dissuade you from continuing to eat because you’ve already announced that the meal was complete for you.

5. If you’re out, ask your server to box up the rest of the meal so it’s not calling

Your body has a need to feel that it had a meal. A whole meal. This is one of the reasons why sometimes snacks or juicing/shakes (even though enough calories and macronutrients) do not satisfy the BRAIN that it’s been fed or fed enough… You need to chew. Now, chewing does more than just let you know you had a meal. It mechanically breaks down the food for better assimilation. Also- carbohydrates need to be mixed well in saliva (via chewing) to be digested…. Guess how many times on average we chew…. 3 times. That’s not enough. This Week’s Facebook challenge: (Try this as often as you can but commit to at least one meal a day….) Try chewing 20-30 times each bite that you can. (Yes this takes a little longer) Journal when you have done this… Notice: did you digest your meal better? Did you find yourself feeling full earlier?

Try using a smaller plate to eat from…. Did you know that you sometimes feel satisfied because of how full your plate is? One of the keys to being more present and aware of how much you eat is to fill a smaller plate with food to eat from. (You could always get more food if still actually hungry…) Try a meal or two using a luncheon plate at dinner and see how things go…

Today we start exploring the Twenty Minute Meal. Twenty minutes will let us assimilate our foods, as well as notice and stop when we are full… To begin: at a meal, set a time to see HOW LONG you usually spend eating a meal. Post below. (Were you surprised?) If you are not yet taking twenty minutes, for at least one meal a day, start by adding 5 minutes more to your meal until you reach twenty…. It will help to CHEW, breathe, and put your utensils down between bites….

Breathing correctly can have a big impact on detoxifying your body, as well as more awareness of being present in the moment… Breathing between bites can help you digest better (and it takes up time which helps with the twenty minute meal!) Breathing can also be an action step to relax: get out of a constant state of fight-or-flight… The focus should be on a long inhale but a longer EXHALE… This is what helps our stress response. See the link to LOIS breathing for an example… And start using it between bits AND before bed and see how your health improves!

This week we will focus on Sensual Eating! We use all our senses: How pretty we can make our plate… Different colors showing up in vegetables…. When chewing, discovering the textures we feel on our tongue. What a pretty setting we can make on the table: pretty china, nice glass, beautiful napkin…

To focus: Turn off technology and focus on beauty and meaningful conversation instead of vegging out in front of the TV or social media…