I’ve had some pretty crazy eating habits in my time. I was never at the point of say an “eating disorder”, but there were definitely stages of disordered eating.
If I went out to dinner I’d eat way too much, and wind up with a food baby feeling painfully bloated. (The undiagnosed gluten sensitivity meant I had major cravings for food like pizza and pasta, even though they made me feel like crap.)
This probably had something to do with having brothers. Weetbix eating competitions (I was out-eating Brett Lee at age 9), and feeling like I had to eat as much as possible as quickly as possible in case there was no food left!
Then there was the other end of the spectrum. Counting calories and eating low fat. I also had a stint on the bodybuilder style diet where I was pretty much eating chicken and broccoli five times a day.
I thought this way of eating was pretty awesome because I was lookin’ gooood, but it was incredibly restrictive. I was only “allowed” a treat on a Saturday night. So if I went to dinner with friends on a Tuesday, there was no way I’d be having dessert.
After a few months of this diet I was starting to feel incredibly worn out. My thyroid hormones were out of whack, and my cortisol production has flatlined.
Then I started to learn about real food and mindful eating.
I didn’t actually discover the real food approach because of the disordered eating. I had chronic fatigue and a number of other health conditions, so I completely overhauled my lifestyle to heal myself.
So, in a way it was a blessing in disguise that I got unwell, because it took that big of a shakeup to get me to really change my way of eating.
What's the role of real food in mindful eating?
Processed food has been engineered so that we want more and more (and MORE). When we eat this food day in, day out, we completely lose our intuitive ability to choose the food we need, what's exactly right for us at any given moment.
Making the shift to real food allows you to hit the reset button and get back in touch with what’s right for you. It takes time, but it’s absolutely worth it.
What is mindful eating?
Let’s break it down.
Mindfulness is being conscious, aware. And when it comes to eating, that means taking the time to relax and really enjoy your food.
We’re getting more and more conscious about WHAT we’re eating, but so many of us still don’t think about HOW we’re eating.
We’re eating on the run, on our phones, thinking of our to-do lists. We’re pretty much always in that sympathetic or “fight or flight” state.
You might be eating the most nourishing, nutrient-dense food, but if you’re not eating mindfully, it’s likely you won’t be digesting it properly. This means you could be missing out on all the awesome healthy goodness it has to offer!
That means we really need to learn to get into the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” state.
I thought you’d never ask. The secret is mindful eating, my friend.
Try this: Sit down to eat your meal (you might find this a challenge in itself). Put your phone/laptop/iPad out of sight. Take ten deep breaths. Chew each mouthful 20-30 times. Think about the flavours and textures of the food as you’re eating it and really enjoy it.
This is mindful eating. It takes practice, but it’s a game changer for your overall health, plus your digestion and relationship with food. And it’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Give it a go!
Looking for some support to eat mindfully or supercharge your digestion? I can help with that! Hop on over here to book your free Discovery Session.