7 Expert Tips For Mindful Eating!

Healthy Food

Have you ever inhaled the whole chocolate box? Alone?? Then this one is for you.

Picture this. Real story. You just got home from taking the kids swimming (happy day). There really wasn’t time for a proper lunch and with the backstroke cheerleading and shower-get-dressed-let’s-get-home-quick-before-the-traffic-goes-nuts time has flown by. You’re famished.

Alone in the bedroom you find some lost mini fudge bars inside the swimming bag…

They smell good. You go for it. Like really go for it. You close the bedroom door in case the kids hear the wrapping. And you (well, by now you’ve figured out it’s really ME) hide in the corner between the wardrobe and the bed, munching, in case offspring comes marching through the door to find mum has had all the fudges! Hiding, people!!! Seriously, and you call yourself a grown up (by now I actually kind of already knew I was a fraud).

In my defense I have since writing this discovered that lots of mums hide from their kids for all sorts of different reasons. Solo chocolate gobbling being top of the list #SharingIsBoring.

As it turns out I’m not one to give in to sobbing and guilt feels over chocolate bars (even if it’s bad chocolate). But my point is that it’s much healthier all around when you have control over cravings and take time to appreciate your food. You’re more likely to make better food choices, avoid the sugar roller coaster and feel better after your meals.

Mindful eater: a cross between someone who’s into food + willing to give this whole mindfulness business a good go = ME.

So when you throw a mindful eating workshop at one of my favourite London wellbeing destinations I’m game! Gazelli House has been hosting the Healthy Habits Series this October, delivered by the leading UK lifestyle behaviour change specialist Dr Heather McKee.

We talked about the science behind the benefits of mindful eating, cravings vs. real hunger and practical ways to “train” your mind to tell one from the other (it’s easier than you think).

There was a weird point during the workshop when you’re taking a whole 5 minutes to eat a chocolate Lindor (!). I confess was ready to push for the finish line… But everyone seemed to be going with it #PeerPressure and guess what – I can’t remember having had a more delicious treat.

These are the 7 Mindful Eating tips I learned:

  1. Have bigger portions during mealtimes to avoid mindless snacking.
  2. Go French. They usually start the meals with a salad, before the most exciting flavours make that spinach leaf look not so terribly appetizing.
  3. Don’t leave it to chance. Plan your meals and snacks as much as possible and leave the house with something healthy in your bag. And frankly, sometimes you’ll just have to eat when it’s convenient, punto.
  4. Respect your hunger, ie. do eat if you are hungry. Don’t berate yourself for wanting to eat. But before reaching out for the biscuit tin, ask yourself if you’re not just bored.
  5. Embrace “Urge Surfing”! If it’s just a craving, it will go away. Ride the wave, do something else you enjoy, like reading a book or eating ice cream (lol).
  6. Keep healthy snacks available for you and the kids. No, packs of digestive biscuits don’t count.
  7. Tackle the low-hanging fruit first. Start with smaller, easier changes. It builds momentum and will keep you motivated. For me that’s a distraction-free lunch once a week, certainly not tea time with the kids (#Mayhem).

Mindful eating is not about depriving yourself, it’s about making the most of your food. It’s not about what you eat, it’s how you eat it. And by being more mindful at meal times, you’re reaping greater benefits – in becoming an altogether more patient, kind and happy creature. That sounds pretty nice, hey?

If you’re curious about Mindful Eating, Dr Heather McKee’s website is packed with easy tips and geeky bits. There’s still one last workshop left in the Healthy Habits Series, but be quick – sessions are intimate and sell out fast. Check out here for deets and tickets.

With love,

The fudge-eating monster

Ps. It’s a lot easier to be a mindful eater when the spread is as nice as that photo…

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