Mindful eating: the new way to find your perfect weight
It's easier than you might think.
I am often asked how I stay in shape and maintain my weight, and I’ll have to be honest, owning 10 Pilates and barre studios really helps to keep me toned, but it’s what I put in my mouth, or more accurately, how I put what I put in my mouth that helps me to maintain the weight that is perfect for me.
We all have different definitions of what our ideal weight looks or feels like, but to me it’s about feeling really good in my body and clothes, feeling fit and well, and eating a balanced, wholefoods diet. It’s the latter I want to focus on and a very important part of eating well is to do with how you eat.
I have a favourite book, and I would argue that it’s one of the best books on healthy eating that you can buy, called Food Rules (by Michael Pollan). In it, he very simply describes a number of food rules that fall into three categories:
1. Eat food. 2. Mostly plants. 3. Not too much.
The first category – eat food – talks about eating a balanced diet of real, wholefoods. Foods that your grandmother would recognise as food as opposed to packaged, processed foods. The second category – mostly plants – advocates a largely plant-based diet with animal protein included as needed by the individual. The third category is my favourite – not too much.
Not too much essentially talks about the “how” of eating. Eat appropriate portions. Eat good quality foods (organic where possible). Eat slowly. Eat proper meals. Cook. Eat mindfully (no TV or distractions) and so on. I highly recommend this book as there are so many simple gems in it.
Putting these principles in place, particularly the idea of eating mindfully, can really help you to achieve your ideal weight. If we stop and take time to really consider what we are putting in our mouths (and how we are doing it), it allows us to examine our food choices and make better ones about what we are eating, portion sizes, and the environment in which we are eating. If we are always snacking or eating on the run, we probably aren’t noticing what we are eating until we’ve finished the whole chocolate bar while rushing home to pick up take-away. Mindfulness allows us to slow down and be more in control of what and how we eat.
Try this mindful eating exercise:
Choose a small fruit like a berry or grape and before eating it, experience some of the other senses with relation to it.
Look at it Before you even touch it, really take a close look at it and look for the finer details. Look at it in a way you’ve never bothered to look at a piece of fruit before.
Touch it Close your eyes and notice what it feels like: how it rolls around in your hand, the texture, the softness or firmness and so on. Take a good 20 seconds to sense the fruit through touch.
Smell it Keep your eyes closed and smell it. Notice the subtlety of the aroma.
Finally, taste it Go really slow. Put it in your mouth first and let it roll around before eating it. Slowly bite into it and chew it as many times as you can before swallowing it.
I bet it is the richest and most delicious grape or berry you’ve ever tasted! Every meal can be that way if you choose, and particularly, before you eat something unhealthy really take the time to decide if you want to eat it, knowing what you are trying to achieve health-wise and how you want to feel in your skin. If you do treat yourself, and I highly recommend you do, make it a mindful experience.
by EMMA SEIBOLD