- Set the table.
- Say grace.
- Focus on the food in front of you and in your mouth.
- Only eat: nothing else: no multi-tasking
- Chew slowly (count if it helps) and savour your food by smelling and being aware of the textures.
- Drink water.
- Put your cutlery down.
- Portion Control.
Become aware of your thoughts
Thoughts influence our behaviour especially addictive behaviour. We need to remind ourselves when we are caught up in thoughts: they are only thoughts; stories in our head, and not facts.
Stay in the moment, not in the past or the future. Not being in the moment, but in your thoughts, is like being on a beautiful beach with a bag over your head: you will miss it all!
We are so much more than our thoughts! Your thoughts about your body will determine the shape of your body. But remember they are only thoughts.
We must change the way we think about food. Food is food; it has no magical qualities! I detest it when people say: I “should not eat that.” Says who? Yesterday it was fat we were supposed to avoid and today it is carbs! What will it be tomorrow? You must eat what makes you feel good and assists your body in functioning optimally.
What do you believe about food and about yourself?
Become aware of the internal stream of thoughts about food and hunger in your body.
Be aware of your internal critic.
Become kinder to yourself by using some of these statements:
- It’s OK, next time it will be easier.
- I really did try hard, but I had a tough day.
- Let’s try again; everybody makes mistakes.
- This is a process; it takes time.
- I love and accept myself.
Become aware of the internal dialogs in your head. Notice any black or white thinking.
Mindfulness teaches us to exercise the gap between thoughts and actions.
Be mindful of your feelings
- Mindfulness can teach us to manage our emotions:
- 75% of unconscious and compulsive eating is emotional eating.
- Identify the feelings and emotional triggers that drive your binges.
- It is not about food, but about feeling: feelings of emptiness, sadness, loss or feeling unloved and rejected.
- Beware of feelings that prompt you to eat. Emotional hunger includes: boredom, stress, pain, shame, regret and guilt.
- Sit with your pain.
- Stress eating is a way of pushing away your emotions.
- Sit with it without fixing them just be aware of them and it will eventually fade away.
- Mindful eating transforms your experience of food. Here is how we will address it together.
You will learn how to:
- Focus your mind on the process of eating
- Focus on the root causes, rather than the results
- Focus on eating behaviour, body, thoughts and emotions
- Be aware of how you eat
- Know your hunger and fullness cues
- Sense and savour food
- Understand your emotional triggers: the feelings that urge you to eat
- Be present and not judge yourself; it is what it is
- Acknowledge food for what it is, rather than to categorize it as good or bad
- Accept yourself and your body as you are now
- Decide how much you eat
- Decide how much you really need of each food
- Decide how big the bite is you take
- Decide how long you need to chew
- Decide how long to wait between bites
- Decide how much you allow yourself to enjoy each bite
- Mindful Eating is the art of reacquainting yourself with hunger and letting it cue you to eat, rather than feeding your emotions.
- We will become more aware of what we eat and appreciate or realise that we do not like something and then not eat that.
- We will also become aware of the difference between wants and needs. Hunger comes from the body and is a need, whereas a want is psychological and comes from the mind. Bodily hunger and mental appetite will unite into a single, healthy desire.
- Power: What do we allow to influence us?
When we have weight issues, we give power over food away to someone or something else. Take back the control.
- Never feel deprived.
- Food is nourishment for the body, mind and soul.
- Food merits our deepest respect.
- There will always be more food.
- There is never a reason to be overweight.
- Leave uneaten food.
- Hunger tells you that your body is working.
- You need to be in harmony with food and your body.
- When you are connected to your body, it will tell you when you are in balance.
- Eat when you are hungry. (True hunger: body hunger- not mind hunger)
- Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
- Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspaper, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversation and music.
- Eat only what your body wants. (Big difference from what your MIND wants)
- Eat until you are satisfied. (This is different than full).
- Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
- Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
- Treat all foods the same: meals, snacks, nibbles, bites, beverages and titbits. All should be consumed mindfully.
- For one second, during each bite, focus your attention on the food in your mouth.
- Think about the food: the appearance, texture, taste, flavour and the feel in your mouth.
- Count the number of chews for each bite. Chew 15 to 20 chews.
- Put your silverware down while chewing.
- Eat slowly and deliberately.
- Pay attention: Wake up! PORTION CONTROL