“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~ Zen proverb
I discovered mindful eating by chance. It’s funny. It’s actually the most effective tool in my “nutritionist tool belt”. Yet, I didn’t study it in either of my university degrees. It’s also probably the most simplest nutrition strategy ever.
In case you don’t know my story, I “discovered” mindful eating 10 years after I started working in nutrition. I originally trained as a Dietitian and Nutritionist in Australia. I worked in a ton of different areas in nutrition. From hospitals to research to public health projects both in Australia and the UK. Over the years I saw A LOT of people who wanted help with losing weight. I “helped” hundreds of people (many women) lose weight and “get healthy”.
How I discovered mindful eating
As I went along my way in the nutrition field, one thing kept bothering me. I actually hated. No. Dreaded weighing people. From a personal viewpoint, I felt losing weight was not important. I felt like it didn’t really matter and that if we focused on health, we would be the “right weight for us”.
So slightly weird. I was a Dietitian that hated weighing people! After a number of years of working I actually stopped weighing clients. I gravitated more and more towards the psychology of eating and what is now called the Non-Diet Approach. It turns out it was much a much kinder, gentler approach to helping people change the way they eat. Surprise. Surprise. No scales or diets were required!
It was through my search for novel, non-diet strategies for my clients, I came across this fun little thing called mindful eating. Mindful eating had become a super-useful strategy for anyone struggling with over-eating, binge eating or an unhappy relationship with food. My 3 biggest influences were Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Jean Kristeller and Jan Chozen Bays. From there I embarked on formal training in meditation & mindful eating and in fact, I’m now a proud Volunteer Ambassador* for The Mindfulness App!
How mindful eating works
Mindful eating is an informal way of practising mindfulness. It’s as simple as other everyday activities like brushing our teeth, drinking tea or going for a walk. It allows us to really hone in on the eating process.
Mindful eating works best alongside cultivating a formal mindfulness practice like meditation and yoga. The formal mindfulness practice allows us to manage all those crazy little life happenings that keep us feeling a little anxious or a bit reactive. Therefore we can come to meal times with a calm mindset.
Being calm when we eat is the first step of mindful eating. If we are calm, we are more likely to notice our hunger, fullness and how we satisfied with feel from eating. It also helps us to notice our emotional and environmental triggers to eating and we can start to change things (if we need or want to).
Want to try mindful eating for yourself?
A bit hesitant? Start here with a short meditation. Becoming less reactive to our everyday stress is an awesome way to start…
“Remember, it’s not often about the food”