Attuned Eating: Making Empowered Choices About Our Bodies and Our Food
When we engage in eating activities automatically or out of habit, we often miss opportunities to choose healthier foods or behaviors. For example, we may find ourselves eating an entire package of chips or cookies while we watch TV or drive our car. Or we may not notice how full we have become until our stomach begins to hurt. It can be frustrating to find ourselves without self-control or choice-making about food!
When we instead choose to direct our attention mindfully to our bodies and our choices throughout the day, we can discover opportunities to make different choices. In this way, we become empowered to act as agents of change in our own lives.
Mindfulness involves practicing moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment while choosing to apply kindness, compassion, and acceptance to what we find.
In attuned eating, a mindful approach to eating taught by licensed clinical social worker, Judith Matz, we can apply mindfulness to our everyday experiences with food by asking ourselves three simple questions throughout the day:
1. Am I hungry?
· Consider what it feels like to be physically hungry. Tune into your stomach and check how it feels. Are you hungry? If yes, move on to question #2.
· If the answer is no, what else might you be needing in that moment? Are you seeking abundance, rest, or safety? Choice, freedom, or power? Passion, purpose, or connection? Respect, understanding, or community? Are you bored? Could you meet that need in a more effective way without food? Would you like to try that approach instead?
2. What food would be the best match?
· Identify what your body craves in response to your physical hunger. What food matches your craving?
· Consider how you would like to feel. Will the food you select help you to feel that way? How much will you need?
3. Am I full?
· What does fullness feel like in your body? Practice noticing your state of fullness.
· Continue to monitor how full you feel. Decide when you will know you have eaten enough.
What do you discover when you tune into your body and your thoughts around food? How does this influence your eating patterns or food choices?
We'd love to hear about your experiences with mindful eating. Reach out to us at New Vision Health Coaching, LLC and share!