Mindfulness is an important skill in learning when it comes to Intuitive Eating.
Considering we are still in the midst of a pandemic and our stress levels are at an all-time high, it might be worth developing a mindfulness practice to help you and your family.
Mindfulness is an important skill in learning to becoming an intuitive eater. Taking the time to breathe, pause and be mindful of the food you are eating, how your body is feeling, how you are feeling. These are all ways to practice intuitive eating.
The many benefits of mindfulness include reduced anxiety, better concentration, better sleep, as well as a decrease in emotionally-driven eating. All things we can use help with right now.
Today I want to share ways you can practice mindfulness in your daily life. And if you are one of the many people who dismiss mindfulness, I encourage you to try it. After all, in today’s world, we are all in need of less stress, better focus, and feeling good about ourselves and our lives.
I also want to share a recipe…Macaroni and Cheese…because sometimes we just need some comfort food!
Mindfulness is the Opposite of Living on Autopilot
How often have you driven your car and forgotten where you were driving to? Or taken the wrong route because you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings? How often have you showered and failed to notice the warm water on your skin?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice that is very relevant for life today. Mindfulness is simple. It just means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This increases awareness, clarity, and acceptance of our present-moment reality.”
Mindfulness often conjures up thoughts of meditation and silent retreats and many of my clients have expressed feeling nervous about trying it or don’t know how to incorporate it into their everyday lives. Try not to let the thought of meditating the “right” way add to your stress level.
I have been taking classes at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, which has truly helped keep me sane during this pandemic. What I appreciate the most is learning ways to make mindfulness more accessible in my everyday life.
Here are some lessons I have learned that might be helpful for you as well.
Mindfulness Awareness Practices
Introducing the practice of mindfulness into your life can be accomplished in several ways. One of the most convenient ways to embrace mindfulness is to take advantage of all the little opportunities that present themselves each day. By chipping away a little at a time, you can comfortably grow into your mindfulness practice.
Here are 10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness:
- Focus on your breathing upon awakening each day. Feel each breath. After a few minutes, get up and see how long you can be mindful of your grooming activities.
- Practice body awareness in the shower. Feel the water touching every part of your body. Focus on how it feels.
- Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions.
- While outdoors, notice the weather. Describe it to yourself. What do you see and hear?
- Practice good listening skills at home or work. Are you intently listening to the person who is speaking or are you thinking about something else?
- Focus on your food. How does this food smell and taste? What is the texture? Is it hot or cold?There is no pressure to do anything more than just observe.
- Movement. Notice your body and thoughts while moving your body.
- Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation.
- Observe the person standing (of course, at least 6 feet, socially distanced) in front of you in line. Describe them in complete detail to yourself. See if you can complete the activity without having your attention wander.
- Walk. A walking meditation can sync our body and mind while we’re out and about. And if you don’t like to sit and close the eyes to meditate, this is a great alternative that still trains the mind in awareness.
Experiment and you’ll likely find out what types of mindfulness and meditation work best for you and what you enjoy doing. Adapt your practice of mindfulness to your needs at the moment.
Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to be mindful or to meditate. The goal is to balance yourself and feel better – to get yourself in a more peaceful place.
In September I will be opening the doors again to my Group program, Intuitive Eating Essentials for Midlife, Menopause and Beyond. If you want to know when registration opens, click here and add your name to the waitlist as these groups are limited so everyone can get the support they need.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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