Today during a business meeting at lunchtime, we got to talking about one of my favorite topics: food. More specifically the behavior in which we consume our food.
The gentleman I was speaking to commented on the importance of quality food, and just as importantly MINDFULNESS. He had recently hit a weight loss plateau, and instead of going into Diet-Crazy-Juice-Fasting-Panic-Mode he made one simple change: the WAY he ate at the table.
“I just started doing more of this,” as he flipped his iPhone upside down, “and less of this.” (gesturing eating quickly while texting) And guess what? He realized his food now tastes better, he feels more satisfied, lunch leaves him REFRESHED versus bogged down, oh and as an added perk: he lost the weight!
This immediately took me right back to my college days, as I’d stand in my kitchen late at night frantically shoving spoonfuls of low fat peanut butter and leftovers down my throat. The days I’d eat 5,000 rice cakes and never feel full, and the days I’d chug coffee with artificial sweeteners and sugar-free chocolate while making a tight deadline. I was one hot mess.
The minute I decided to actually eat my food (that is, real food) and I mean truly taste it and be there for my meal, the weight started coming off. And not just the physical weight – but the pounds & pounds of emotional weight I was carrying around with me. Suddenly I felt peace: with myself, with my body, with my food.
It’s not magic. And it’s not rocket science either. It just requires a little patience, a little trust and some experimenting with your body. Even for those of you who think you have “no time” you do have the time to be more mindful when it comes to your meals. Because ask yourself this, what’s it costing you not to give yourself that time?
Here are 4 simple ways you can be more present during your lunch break starting NOW. No diet fads. No gimmicks. No calorie cuts. No rules. Just simply real, genuine, No-BS advice that works.
1. Take 2 – 5 slow, deep breaths before your meal. Get grounded and feel the moment. Notice how you feel in your body. Inhale refreshing, vibrant energy and exhale all the negative crap that’s fogging your mind. When you eat in a stressed out, frantic state, your body can’t properly digest or metabolize your food, hence storing it as fat. And you don’t want that, now do you?
2. Unplug. Put your phone on airplane mode, shut off all electronics, turn off the TV and let go of any outside distractions. Thoroughly enjoy the experience of eating, noticing the taste, smell and texture of your food. And pay attention to your body’s cues: are you full? Are you content? Have you had enough? Honor that.
3. Note how you feel. Perhaps keep a food diary, simply noting what you ate and how you feel. Begin to observe which foods leave you feeling refreshed and energized, and those that leave you feeling burnt out, bloated and irritable. Investigate this. Be the detective of your own life, and observe what works and what doesn’t. Because guess what, what works for you doesn’t necessarily work for your best friend.
4. Slow it down. If you normally take 5 minutes to eat breakfast, take 10. If you typically get take out or fast food for lunch, try bringing your own meal. Make a homemade dinner for a loved one and sit down together at the table with a glass of wine to celebrate it. Know there is no rush. Be in the moment.
Do you pay attention to how you eat? Which of these techniques will you practice this week?