Do you ever find yourself mindlessly eating? Do you eat food that you know isn’t good for you, but you don’t feel you can do anything about it?
I can definitely relate. I had the tendency to overeat, but luckily, I’ve always had a quick metabolism which prevented me from gaining an excess amount of weight. Even still, the regular food coma was a common occurrence.
When I did The WildFit 90 Day Challenge for the first time, I realized that many of my food habits were due to one thing: mindless eating.
Mindless vs. Mindful Eating
When I was little, I developed a habit of eating a lot. Often twice as much as I needed. Here are two reasons why:
- I received recognition for eating a lot. It traces back to my childhood, where I was the tiniest kid in the class. I may have been the smallest in stature, but this didn’t reflect my stomach size. I could eat more than a grown man, and it got me loads of attention. Eating became more of a competition.
- Also, overeating stemmed from my association with food and watching TV. I mindlessly stuffed my face with food while watching Netflix.
Mindless eating isn’t a bad thing if we look at it from the perspective of a hunter-gatherer. Eating mindlessly was crucial, because we had to look out for potential threats while we were eating. The problem today is there are no threats to look out for. Instead, we’re swiping through our phones and watching the latest videos.
Also, hunter-gatherers used to have a shortage of food or availability was variable. Today, we have an abundance of food ALL THE TIME.
Most of the food eaten by the majority of people is high in complex carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Instead of the basics like vegetables and fruit.
This combination of food and mindless eating can result in
- Low energy
- Physical and emotional addiction to food
Now, there’s a way to change this, and it’s mindful eating.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, mindfulness means “… a state of being conscious or aware of something.”
Being mindful allows you to reflect on your behavior and emotional response to situations. It’s the first step of any change you want to make.
Mindful eating means that you’re consciously aware of how you sell yourself into eating a particular food and how it actually affects your body.
Would you eat a slice of pizza if it gave you a heart attack?
I know that this sounds dramatic, but in a sense, it’s what happens. One pizza slice doesn’t do you much harm. It’s the cumulative effect of eating behaviors that causes problems.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you approach things), it takes time before we feel the consequences.
Unless you consciously focus on the long term consequences of what you’re eating, you will most likely get motivated by the short-term pleasure of it.
Luckily you don’t need to be an expert at mindfulness to start being a more mindful eater.
The first step is to slow down. Sit down to eat food with intention, and not just mindlessly stuffing your face.
Another thing you can do, and it’s a really effective exercise we use in our WildFit 90 Day Challenge, is to use The Food Timeline.
The Food Timeline
The Food Timeline is the time from when you’re thinking about eating the food until your body has digested the food.
The Food Timeline exercise is simply this:
- The next time you want to eat something, pay attention and observe.
- How do you feel when you decided to eat that food? How did you convince yourself to eat it?
- How is the first bite?
- How do you feel after 10 bites? Pay attention to how it feels when the food glides down to your stomach.
- How do you feel 30 minutes after you’re finished eating? How does your stomach feel? How is your energy level? How is your mood?
If you start doing this, you will start noticing how the food you’re eating affects the way you feel.
Likely, you will feel one of two ways:
- A) You feel good. Your energy improves. The body feels light.
- B) You feel tired. Your energy is low. The body feels heavy.
When you become aware, it will make it easier to choose food that makes you feel good, instead of settling for the food that drags you down. It will allow you to make better food decisions!
If you want to accelerate the process of eating mindfully and making better food decisions, join our 14 Day Food Reset program below.