7 Ways to Calm The Mind Before Eating
Arriving at a table of delicious food prepared with the dishes you love. You take the time to scan the table, noticing the array of foods, colours, preparation, the smells, textures and anticipating the flavour of each food before you sit down to eat.
You sit at the table and take a plate, fill it with a selection of dishes that are tasting portion sizes and slowly beginning to eat. Curiously tasting each food and noticing the vast flavours you like and experiencing the exciting moment as if it’s the first time you’ve eaten such foods, slowly savouring each bite.
Is this how you approach eating food? Awesome if you do!
Most of us are mindless eaters!
We eat on autopilot rarely looking at the food we’re eating and barely tasting it before it disappears from our plate into our belly. This happens because we are:
- Mentally and physically bombarded by many foods 24/7.
- Hopelessly distracted by our thoughts, emotions or engaged in media content while we’re eating such as TV, computer (if its on) or reading the newspaper, magazine, or a book.
- Ignore looking, smelling, feeling, tasting, or taking time to enjoy food.
- Disconnected from our body signals of hunger, fullness and emotions.
This approach to eating can cause acid reflux or heartburn which can lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) , a common digestive illness that invites other serious digestive problems such as IBS, celiac, diverticulitis, Overeating generates bloating and gas that perpetuates habits of stomach extension and overstressing the body’s ability to naturally digest the natural nutrient cycle of macronutrients familiar to the digestive tract for keeping the body in balance. As a result, other illnesses such as IBS, Crohn, Celiac, diverticulitis, diabetes and other autoimmune diseases can occur.
Eating mindfully with intention, naturally triggers the signals for the nervous system to move into parasympathetic for resting and digesting.
I’ve written humorous articles on mindful eating for the past six years. Personally, I find it the hardest thing to master. Which is why I created the course FEED THE BRAIN: A Mindful Eating Approach to Nourish the Body, Heart and Mind.
Why is it called Feed the Brain? The brain’s limbic system first triggers the brain involved in behavioural and emotional responses. Especially when it comes to behaviours we need for survival such as the fight or flight response, feedings, reproduction and caring for the young. The limbic system activates the senses to think and stimulate the hormone Ghrelin to inform the body to feel hunger. Once eating, other hormones are released to digest the food. The brain overrides much of our habits for eating. You can self-regulate your habits with a mindful practice.
Calming the mind before eating is a fundamental step to tapping into hunger and knowing what your body needs. The same goes for fullness after eating when the hormone leptin kicks in to tell you you’ve had enough. It’s all in the body waiting for us to listen.
Here are seven ways to calm the mind:
- Take a few minutes before sitting down aa the table to do a breathing meditation or a combined breath and movement exercise before coming to the table.
- Sit down at the table, your feet are grounded on the floor, your breath is soft and take three deep breaths. You can close your eyes if you wish.
- Check in and reflect how hungry are you. (View this chart of the Ten Levels of Hunger To Fullness). It will determined how slow or fast you’ll devour your food.
- Eat slowly…. Concentrate on the food you’re eating without going into autopilot.
- Chew, taking smaller bites and putting down your fork or spoon between bites. Chew your food well.
- Connect to your senses of the eyes, ears, nose, hands, mouth, stomach and heart. Enjoy food like you’re an expert foodie tasting with curiosity and awareness.
- Before sitting down at the table, visualize the meal as described above and throughout the meal regularly check your hunger and full sensations.
In FEED THE BRAIN, you learn about how these body signals work to keep you on track with mindful eating. From the study, Psychological Flexibility and Mindfulness Explain Intuitive Eating in Overweight Adults, mindfulness skills such as acting with awareness, observing, and non-reacting—explains how reliance on hunger/satiety cues helps with self- regulation processes, underlying eating behavior and diminishing depression symptoms.
Imagine how good you’ll feel when you savour the quality of foods by their taste, smell, beauty and satisfaction, everyday!
Sign up for FEED THE BRAIN here. Session beings when six people are enrolled.
PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
FREE SOMATIC MOVEMENT SESSIONS IN MARCH + APRIL
Last fall, I wrote a log post called Ageing: taking wellness into you own hands which referenced Somatic Movement. I have been studying somatic movement for the past 6 months in a teacher training program. Somatic movement offers a gentle healing process from muscular-skeletal injury by correcting body misalignments, back pain, faulty movement patterns and chronic contractions. Somatic education directs the person/client to take an interest in their own recovery, learning how to move better in order to improve their quality of life.
As part of my training, I am required to teaching a series of two, seven sessions of the Myth of Aging phases.
I am looking for 2 more people to work with me over two months at no cost.
If you’ve had some challenges with back pain or wish to improve your posture, please consider participating in these sessions. Dates and times to be determined and will begin in March.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you are interested.
SILENT RETREAT DAY
You are welcome to join our Silent Retreat Day as part of the Heal to Health program on March 19th. Enjoy practicing meditation and movement over 4 to 5 hours. Find out more here and the see the schedule of activities. Cost $35.
MINDFUL TUESDAYS we Practice Together at 6 pm. Click on link to find out more.
PROGRAMS: FEED THE BRAIN and Heal to Health
Feed the Brain: A mindful eating approach is a perfect way to gain a better relationship with food and body. How can you enjoy food without suffering from the side effects of food anxiety or weight gain? Come on a journey of science and discovery of how the body functions in its natural state and have fun exploring foods that you’ve never tasted this way before. Date TBD
The next Heal to Health begins May 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
Love to talk to you any time. Contact me for a discovery call or schedule a coffee/tea here.
My best in health,