Have you ever heard the saying, "It's all in your head?" When you are starting a new diet or trying to lose weight you might hear it a lot. But, when it comes to food cravings, your head is the best place to start.
Normally, your cravings are actually signals from your body, telling you what vitamins and minerals you need to be nutritionally balanced.
But emotions trigger a different kind of craving for foods that fulfill a certain sensory state. You may crave salty and crunchy potato chips when you are feeling angry, for example. Or, maybe you're craving sweets without even realizing why after a romantic breakup.
Emotions are as real as the food you chew and the water you drink. They affect you physically as well as mentally, and they can play havoc on your attempts at healthy eating if you are not aware of how they act upon your food choices.
Below are some mindful eating
exercises to help you tune into your body, your eating habits, and your emotions in a healthy, balanced way.
8 Mindful Eating Exercises
- Identify the Craving - Close your eyes. Feel your body from inside. How do you feel? Can you name the emotion? Happy? Joyful? Angry? Be honest with yourself. No one can overhear you telling yourself the truth! If you are craving something sweet, are you unconsciously seeking affection? Once you've identified the emotion you assign to a particular food, you'll be in better control of your food choices and be set up for success for more mindful eating habits. Treat yourself to some herbal tea instead of a candy bar when you're aching for some sweetness in your life, for example.
- Be Conscious - Our efforts to lose weight are usually focused on controlling what we eat. Pay more attention to your state of mind and thoughts when you eat. Are you aware of where your food came from? Was it part of another living body or remote land? Remember that there is always a story to how a living thing became your food. Practicing this state of consciousness when consuming food is key to mindful eating.
- Balance Your Meals - Focus on nutritional balance with high vibration foods rather than portion size. Make dishes that balance macronutrients—carbohydrates, protein and fat that provide fuel— with micro nutrients; vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that maintain cellular health. In between the two, eat plenty of fiber, insoluble food that regulates bowel movement and helps you feel full and satisfied without adding calories.
- Go Complex - Simplifying life is great for most everything, except sugar and carbohydrates. The most effective change we can make in our diet that also gives us huge benefits is reducing or even eliminating refined or processed sugar and carbohydrates. You can easily replace packaged snacks such as potato chips and candy with kale chips or fresh fruit for example.
- Landscape Your Plate - Think of your dinner plate as a mini garden and you as the landscape gardener! Balance your nutrition by arranging your plate in thirds, according to type of food. One third should be grains: rice, quinoa, sprouted bread or pasta. One third should be lean proteins such as chicken, fish, tofu, beans. The last third should be leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard, brussels sprouts, etc. Save the fruit for a side dish or dessert. A mindful diet consists of putting thought into each plate.
- Get Your Vitamin N - N is for nature! Aside from the essential vitamins and minerals you get from food, your body and brain both need heavy doses of one of the most healing ingredients on earth, nature! Go out for a walk in the woods, or a swim in the ocean whenever you can.
- Become a Solar Body - Learn how to maximize your natural healing capacity and derive nourishment from your own body's ecology. Feel more vibrant and eat balanced portions as you feel brighter, warmer energy radiating from right inside you.
- Show Appreciation - Here is a prayer, recommended by ECO Director Steve Kim, that you can say out loud, or just think about, at every meal:
May all people eat healthy delicious food.
May all people get healthier together.
May all people, all life forms and all beings be well.
Use some or all of these mindful eating exercises to put balance back in your plate and your life. Soon, you will be in tune with your body's natural rhythm and the earth will be more in tune with you!
To learn and experience more about diet, mindful eating and meditation, join a Body & Brain Yoga