You are what you eat: 6 ways to eat mindfully

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Mindfulness can be brought into what you eat and how you eat.

You may have stripped your diet of junk in the name of calorie counting, but if your meals are still filled with 100-calorie snack packs, the nutrition you’re putting into your body still dips below zero. In the same vein, you may be enjoying farm-to-fork food, but without keeping the themes of balance and moderation in mind, all that fresh produce may still be causing your body indigestion, bloating, and a slew of other problems.

Mindfulness can be brought into what you eat and how you eat: timing your meals in order to follow your body’s natural rhythms; or enjoying a meal instead of breezing through it without giving importance to the ritual and the simple joys of sitting down at the table.

Paying more attention to your food and how you relate to it — for whatever reason — can heighten the experience of taking the good things in and knowing and feeling the good it can do for your body.

Follow these tips to bring more awareness into your mealtimes and observe how your relationship with food grows, develops, and becomes enriched!

1. Listen to your body

When your belly’s rumbling for food, even if it isn’t “official mealtime” just yet, give it a little something. And when dinner rolls in and you’re not very hungry, don’t stuff yourself just because you’re following protocol. Your body and its needs sometimes fluctuate and listening to those cues can help you develop overall mindfulness, too.

2. Distinguish between boredom and hunger

Are you reaching for that snack because you’re tired of staring at your computer screen at the office, or do you really need that extra jolt of energy? There’s nothing wrong with a midday boost — just know your intention before you ingest.

3. Know when to stop

Sometimes food tastes so good, you feel like you just can’t have enough. Before you know it, you’re sitting at the dinner table with a bloated belly and that sick, saturation-point feeling. Building awareness means knowing when you’ve hit that sweet spot, leaving some room to breathe.

4. Note it down

If you enjoy tracking everything down, an app such as MyFitnessPal or a gadget like Jawbone can help you monitor your food intake. It’s also cool to stick to pen and paper to keep a daily record. Writing down what you’ve eaten and, more importantly, how the food makes you feel can help you find patterns in your habits.

If you always feel gassy the day after a banana split or a hot fudge sundae, then you can begin to watch your reactions to dairy a little more closely.

5. Read the label

Or better yet, stick to fresh, organic food that comes with no label! Knowing what’s in your food can give you a better understanding of exactly how many chemicals you’re putting into your body with what you eat. The first step to switching to healthier food is knowing the difference between junk and the good stuff.

6. Slow down

Giving your body the nutrition it needs is an important part of anyone’s day — give it the time it deserves.

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