Our Wellbeing Expert, Sam Sargent, explains how to become more aware of how your body ‘talks’ to you so that you can shift those unwanted kilos. The secret is mindfulness!
When it comes to eating and drinking, mindfulness helps to strengthen your body’s signals so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full. Have you ever been watching TV or working on the computer whilst eating something, only to look down and discover in disbelief that there is nothing left on the plate? I have, and it annoys me right to the bone – there I was looking oh so very well forward to indulging in that piece of chocolate cake, and I have no conscious memory of taking the last bite. What a waste!
Why be mindful?
Whilst eating is primarily a source to nourish our body and provide energy, the added side-benefit is the multitude of delicious taste sensations that we are rewarded with. What if you started to be present when sitting down to a meal so that you can truly savour and enjoy each bite? This simple act may help you to realise that you don’t need to eat that much after all. Maybe all those years of blindly putting the fork to mouth is one of the causes for those extra and unwanted kilos.
You may notice that when you eat a particular kind of food you become more hungry, bloated or tired. You may notice that there are times when your body is telling you to put down the fork but you keep on eating. You may notice that you are consuming coffee and/or alcohol out of habit as opposed to listening to what's truly nurturing for your body.
Taking this concept of mindfulness one step further, I can’t encourage you enough to be mindful of the energy that you exude whilst cooking, so that you infuse love and peace in to the food you are making. Speaking from personal experience, food always tastes better when I am truly enjoying the act of cooking; being present; and extending my loving energy to each stir of the pot. It may sound a little bit “far-fetched” but aren’t we simply considering the concept of energy transference? That is, when one form of energy (kinetic energy, potential energy, chemical energy) is changed into another energy (chemical energy, kinetic energy, sound energy). And aren’t our emotions just a form of energy?
Still not with me? Ok … so how about meditation and the art of being mindful in every action that you do, so that you can be “zen” (calm, quiet and balanced) in even the most menial task? What if your meal times were used as an opportunity to also relax and quieten the mind? Surely this would help cultivate more wellbeing.
How to do it
Set yourself a ‘mini target’ for the week to ensure at least one meal a day is spent eating mindfully. Next week move to two and the following week try for three. After a month, you will notice how eating becomes a wonderful experience rather than a mindless action; as well as adopting eating habits that are more in sync with what's rewarding for you.
If you do make a ‘not so great’ choice, don’t judge it. Just be aware. And make a different choice next time. As time goes by, if you recognise that it wasn’t such a great choice without any judgment, you might just start to make better choices for yourself more often.
Do you have a question for Sam? Ask her here!