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Nutrition

The Do’s and Don’ts of Mindful Nourishment

Summer is over and the distraction of fun in the sun will soon be replaced by our weekly routines at school, work, home or the gym. More than just nutrition alone, a healthy diet consists of not only physical choices, but mental ones, too.

The practice of mindful nourishment is really is just that: a practice. It’s the opposite of the diet or deprivation mentality. Rather, being fully appreciative and present with what you are eating to fuel and nourish what your body needs to succeed. The idea is a departure from trendy crash diets, ones that overtake your motivation with the feeling of guilt at the slightest misstep off a designated menu or meal. Pangs of guilt, along with other negative emotions like shame, embarrassment, fear and anger, often feed into emotional eating and binging- no way to live day-to-day life.

Reshaping the way hunger and nourishment are mentally processed and approached can have a huge affect on mental and physical health. When you’re aware and full of intent when you sit down to eat, you start to look at food as nourishment and learn to appreciate it in a whole new light. You may learn to love cooking and preparing your lunches-something that once seemed to be a burden- or discover new ingredients that you never knew you would enjoy.

All the benefits of mindful eating take practice and concentration. It’s about slowing down, being present, attentive and thoughtful about what you’re eating and why, and understanding what your body is telling you-like when your satiated. When you do this

After putting a few mindful eating tactics to the test, we’ve put together a few of our favorite (and easy to implement) “do’s and don’ts” to help encourage a mindful and satisfying approach to your next meal:

hand grabbing fruitDON’T: Mindlessly munch

DO: Notice each bite by:

  • Sipping water in between each bite.
  • Putting down your fork and chewing thoroughly.
  • Really thinking about taste, texture and aroma.
  • Trying to eat with your non-dominate hand or chopsticks to help you slow down and focus.

 

DON’T: Multitask

DO: Make your meal an event by:

  • Sitting at the table, not a desk or your couch.
  • Using place settings, even set for one — especially ones that add life and color to your “event.”
  • Putting the phone/laptop/iPad away.
  • Enjoying your company – fully engaging in conversations and taking in your surroundings.

 

eggsDON’T: Gorge on portions

DO: Understand your body’s cues by:

  • Stopping eating when you feel satisfied, not when you’re stuffed or your plate is empty. Learn what your body feels like when you’re hungry, satisfied and stuffed. Finding that sweet spot will have you functioning at your best.
  • Not eating out of large packages or containers; try smaller plates, bags and glasses during your meal or snack.

 

DON’T: Take your food for granted

DO: Think about where it came from by:

  • Taking a few minutes before you eat to consider exactly how many people it took to bring that food to your plate – from the staff at the supermarket or restaurant back to the farmer growing and cultivating the ingredients.

 

cookies with icingDON’T: Demonize food

DO: Eat foods you enjoy by:

  • Giving in to cravings, but recognizing it and letting it resonate before acting on it. You’re more likely to realize why you want something – and if you really want it at all – if you have a few moments to think about it first. Denying cravings only increases binging later on.
  • Allowing yourself to indulge sometimes, but really enjoying every bite.

 

DON’T: Starve yourself or waste your hunger on empty calories

DO: Make good food choices by:

  • Choosing healthy, filling options (think fiber and protein) when you’re hungry, in order to keep you satiated.
  • Staying hydrated! Sometimes thirst can be confused with hunger — a tall glass of water can go a long way.

 

hand holding foodDON’T: Eat emotionally or out of boredom

DO: Evaluate your hunger by:

  • Asking yourself if you’re really hungry, or if you’re just trying to pass time.
  • Trying other engaging activities before eating: walk, play with a pet or call a friend to chat.

 

DON’T: Obsess over numbers

DO: Take the time to understand what your body needs to feel its best by:

  • Journaling what you eat and how it makes you feel, even for just one meal a day.
  • Finding foods that are nutritious and filling and keeping them on-hand.
  • Being realistic about what feels good for your body and not comparing yourself to what another person eats.

For more tips and tricks, check out this great guide: “Marathon of Mindful Eating.”

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About me

Call it passion, or maybe curiosity -- whatever it is Jessica is fueled by, it's not slowing down any time soon. From the get-go, she knew that her desire to represent brands with a purposeful story was a strong one, and after graduating with a degree in public relations from SDSU, followed by a solid stint at a lifestyle PR agency, she landed in a role with a company whose story outshines the rest (hint hint, that's here). She's openly obsessed with the outdoors, reveling in cycling races, hiking adventures and, most commonly, brunching on patios. She is known for always taking the "scenic route" -- especially for fish taco pit-stops along the way -- and makes a solid effort to keep her schedule jam-packed with activities and friends, which keeps her on her toes.

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