mindful eating

Let’s Chat: Savor Summer With Mindful Eating

When life is busy, we forget the importance of how we approach eating. Many times, our meal is rushed or filled with distraction. Diet culture has made us feel guilty for indulging in a craving, and sometimes our emotions push us to eat. This can hinder our mental wellness and physical health. Whether you are struggling with diet culture, feel out of control with hunger or cravings, or are on anti-obesity medicine, mindful eating can help. Obesity Medicine Physician Dr. Egan and Nurse Practitioner Liz Moon discuss how incorporating mindfulness into your eating habits can help you achieve your health and wellness goals while also enjoying delicious seasonal foods. Learn how to practice mindfulness while eating to regain control of your nutrition and get a sneak peek at our brand-new 30-day Mindful Eating Journal as well!

The Importance of Nutrition

What we put into our bodies directly impacts every aspect of our well-being, from fueling our bodies and maintaining hormonal balance to supporting our mental and physical health. As women, we are pressured into restrictive diets and carry shame because of diet culture and social pressures. It’s important to remind ourselves that nutrition is essential for our health, but it looks different for everyone; there are many ways to approach eating. By understanding what our bodies need, we can better align our nutrition goals, redefine our relationship with food,  find balance, and ultimately reclaim control over our health.

What is Mindful Eating?

In the simplest terms, mindfulness means deliberately paying attention. It involves being fully aware of what is happening inside yourself–in your body, heart, and mind—and outside yourself, in your environment. Most importantly, mindfulness is awareness without judgment and criticism. Many women find it difficult to be present when eating because of the busyness of their day. It’s crucial to slow down and be aware of how you and your body are feeling. By learning to listen to what your body needs while still incorporating foods you love, you will be able to build a nutritious eating lifestyle that can withstand vacation, going out to dinner, and the chaos of life. Learning how to eat sustainably begins with a step toward mindfulness. 

Ping to Eat

The saying, “ping to eat,” refers to the voice in our heads telling us to eat. When you feel a “ping” it is essential to identify if that voice is activated because of physical hunger or due to cravings. Physical hunger is typically triggered when your stomach feels empty or you need more energy. On the other hand, craving pings center on wanting “I want another bite,” “I want a snack,” or “That smells good, I want that.” Recognizing where your desire to eat stems from will help you approach how to respond to the ping to eat. 

Craving Waves

Everyone experiences cravings. Viewing cravings as waves can help you overcome the desire to eat. Mindfulness involves allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you love. However, cravings can be emotionally driven rather than purely physical hunger. Ranking your hunger on a scale from 1 (starving) to 10 (stuffed) can help you identify if your craving is physical or emotional. Once you identify whether it’s an emotional or physical response, you can choose to ride out the wave. Part of mindfulness is sitting with our cravings. Cravings come and go in waves; they will pass. Learning to understand your cravings can also help you assess whether you need anti-obesity medication or if they are effectively working. Understanding your feelings will help you break the unhealthy habit of giving in to emotional cravings. 

Be Present 

Being present while eating involves creating a calm environment by eliminating distractions. It also involves slowing down while eating. Take small bites and chew slowly to allow your body to appreciate the food and experience it fully. Practice engaging your senses by observing the colors, smells, textures, and flavors. Being present in a meal can enhance digestion, promote healthier food choices, reduce overeating, foster a positive relationship with food, and improve overall well-being. 

Nourishment Journal

true. Women’s Health offers a mindful eating journal to record meal plans, reflect on food choices, access educational content, and measure hunger and cravings. This journal helps you understand your eating patterns and provides a space to practice mindful eating.

Questions to Ask Your Provider

  1. What is your knowledge in nutrition?
  2. What is my phase of ovarian function?
  3. How is my metabolic health?
  4. What are my resources to help establish a better relationship with food?
  5. Am I a candidate for anti-obesity medications?

Dr. Egan’s 5 Take-Home Tips

  1. Show self-love for yourself.
  2. You do have some control over your food choices. 
  3. Learn about your “ping to eat”.
  4. Take time to understand your hunger. 
  5. Your cravings do not define you. Cravings are a product of your life.

Begin Your Wellness Journey at True

Mindful eating leads to sustainable eating habits by encouraging individuals to listen to their body’s hunger and fullness cues, reducing the likelihood of overeating. It promotes a deeper appreciation of food, which can lead to healthier food choices and increased satisfaction. Mindful eating helps break emotional eating patterns, creating a balanced and intentional approach to nutrition.

At true., we recognize the challenges of healthy eating and believe adopting mindful eating habits can contribute to overall wellness. We’re committed to offering you the necessary support and resources as you navigate this journey towards sustainable eating practices. We want to empower you to learn and integrate mindfulness into your eating habits so you can reclaim your health journey. Whether you’re looking to boost your energy, shed a few pounds, or simply savor every bite, we hope you’ll join us in a summer of mindful eating success!