Eating Mindfully for Better Physical and Mental Health

eating at restaurant

Hi everyone. Hopefully your 2023 is off to a wonderful start! While I’m not a huge fan of resolutions, I do have some goals — short term and long term — that I want to tackle. I’m also in my 38th year of conscious life and at a point where it’s becoming more timely and more natural to accept that what I put into my body, my body gives back to me. As I’m trying to be more mindful of many things, eating mindfully is at the top of the list.

To start, I decided to do Dry January until the 26th which is vacation time — something I would have previously never considered — but I have been wanting to cut back on alcohol for some time. More on that later! The other thing I feel is much needed is to address and tinker with my relationship with food. I’ve considered myself a shameless glutton for as long as I can remember; I like tasty things! But at some point that can become problematic, especially if I’m not being physically active.

cocktail
No more of these delicious things for another week!

Well, I’ve reached that point and I am attempting to take steps to improve my health, lose some weight, and still have some the things I want to eat – more mindfully. Here’s how I’m doing that and things I know I need to work on:

I stop eating when I’m satiated.

This really isn’t new for me but I am thinking about it more mindfully rather than just doing it. If I’m out at a restaurant, I might proclaim out loud that I am full and not having another bite to put that thing in writing (so to speak). Attempts at conditioning me to clean my plate as a child were pretty unsuccessful. Portion sizes in this country in general are quite large and it seems like they’ve only gotten larger. I’m happy to put things in a box and take home to pretend to eat the next day as it rots in the fridge. 🤷🏾‍♀️ This one is pretty easy for me to do as it comes naturally.

eating at restaurant with to go box

I think about how long I must work out in order to burn off the calories

This. one. right. here.

When I run for 30 minutes, I burn around 300 calories. If I take a 60 minute HIIT class, like Orange Theory, I burn about 540 calories. These thoughts are big deterrents for eating poorly. I find myself thinking of this particular fact when I’m craving junk food or wanting to eat things that are high in carbs and calories.

I think about my bikini body goals – realistically.

I try not to directly compare myself to others, but I do have some inspirational ideas about how I’d ideally like my body to look. What’s ideal and what’s realistic are two different things, though. Ultimately, I want to feel comfortable enough in a bikini again. TBH, I haven’t felt that way for a long time, even when I was relatively skinny. I may never feel that way again, but it helps me focus on losing my belly fat and making better choices. I also try to remember that absolutely nobody has all aspects of their shit together so perfection is never the goal, and the beach doesn’t care how I look 😌. It accepts me every time. Again, the goal here is FOCUS.

I’m eating out a lot less

This is mostly due to Dry January since eating out at restaurants (which is literally one of my favorite things) puts unnecessary temptation on me to order a cocktail. I certainly don’t have three course meals at home so that is helping with eating smaller portions as well as eating less often. I’ve been a twice a day kind of gal for the longest but I have a habit of waiting until I’m starving to eat which leads to overeating sometimes.

I need to make better choices

Haha 😹 as general as a statement as this is, it’s the number one reason I feel stagnant! The twice a day wait until you’re starving thing is not ideal for me at this point so I’m going to start eating smaller portions more frequently as soon as I feel hungry to keep from over-eating, or eating things like the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches I’ve been seemingly addicted to! Once I have it in my mind I am having a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, I AM HAVING A NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN SANDWICH.

The other part of that is knowing that I am going to be satiated if I eat something better for me and acknowledging that once I do, I won’t be thinking about food anymore. This has helped me be more mindful when I’ve been on the fence about what to eat. “Go home and eat some damn lentils!” I tell myself, which have less calories, less carbs, more protein and less fat. Plus, I really like lentils.

I need to plan my meals more often

As easy as this sounds, in practice it can be quite hard, especially for a single person like myself with no children to look after. The cost of groceries these days also don’t help (have you seen how expensive EGGS are???). For the things I want to eat, it’s not that far off in price to just go out (unless it’s lentils)! Having said that, this can be a mental thing, too. If I bring my lunch with me to work, the chances of me going off campus for food is almost zero. To remedy this, I have been taking easy-to-transport food to work when I go in the office and setting a google voice reminder before I leave the house to not forget my food! I could probably use more salads in my diet, too, but I generally don’t enjoy salads. The ones I do enjoy, I destroy the benefits by putting all of the things on it.

I need to plan for cravings

That bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos. That late afternoon Snickers bar. I need more mindful eating activity around this, for sure. When I’m working from home, I can control the cravings, mainly because I don’t keep stuff like this in the house. When I’m at work with that wretched vending machine, that’s another story. A few months ago, I was eating the Quest Peanut Butter Cups to control my sweet tooth and they work like magic! Those things are so sweet, you only want one of them and it perfectly satisfies any sugar craving. Each cup contains 11 grams of protein and 1g net carbs. They are pricey af, though but I need to just eat the cost (pun intended) be better about getting them. They work!

To close, all of the things I mentioned have another thing in common other than being more mindful about what I eat: discipline. I need to develop better discipline.

Onward and upward!

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