How to practice being mindful on a day to day basis?
The key here is to get all your senses involved when carrying out tasks, such as feeling the water on your hands when washing up or the clothes on your skin, smelling the food as it's cooking, looking at the colours of nature, listening to sounds of the birds etc. Start to become aware of the energy in your body, maybe starting with just your hands or feet, your breathing and emotions etc.
Now, what is mindful eating?
By being present and aware when eating and not engaging in anything else, such as watching TV, reading or thinking about other things obsessively.
How can mindfulness can help you manage your emotions and thoughts?
An example of a Mindful Eating Tip:
Mindfulness can help you focus on what you are currently doing rather than getting caught up with the past and future, which is when stress and overwhelm can manifest. But the question is, how is mindful eating different than just deciding to go on a diet or restrict certain foods? When eating, notice the colours of the food before you put it in your mouth, notice the sensation, taste and texture as you are doing this.
When dieting or restricting foods you will feel deprived and then you will usually crave food more as a result. Mindful eating is giving yourself the permission to eat anything you want although you may find that you don't actually want it. You are then more likely not to overeat or eat foods that can cause weight gain.
What are the simplest, most reliable ways to build greater awareness of your health habits?
To be mindful of what you are eating, notice how you are feeling after eating. Writing in a journal can help - by stating how you are feeling on a day to day basis to see if there is a correlation to unhealthy eating habits and the way you feel.
How mindfulness can help to change stubborn habits and patterns
Awareness is the first step to healing and you’ll probably notice that you start to become more truthful with yourself. This can be a very beneficial way for you to notice how kind or unkind you are being to yourself and how you may be punishing yourself with food etc.
What can you do when you are craving a certain food you know is not the healthiest for you?
Firstly focus on how you love feeling ie. energised, healthy, light etc. When eating, mentally ask your body if that’s what it wants. You might feel a sensation, get a message mentally coming to you or have a physical reaction such as a cough or a pain in your body. Try not to force anything, just let it be as it is. Carry on eating the food or drinking the drink if you want to. You may notice over time that you start go off the food or forget to include it over time.
My top top 3 Mindful eating tips for beginners
When shopping for food, preparing it or being about to eat it, visualise how your body will react to it. Do you feel weakened at the thought or energised?
When you are eating notice if you are enjoying it.
Ask yourself mentally as you are eating – 'Am I rushing what I am eating it or am I taking the time to enjoy it properly?'
Julie Silver is a qualified nutritional therapist, stress management consultant, author of the book Food Awakening - Nutrition for NOW and ebook Fertility Naturally. Julie has extensive knowledge in the health and well-being field, working with a wide range of corporate clients and individuals. She has diplomas in nutrition, stress management and holistic therapies. She appears regularly in the press and on TV. She is currently focusing on Corporate Wellness and mindfulness even more.