Pay Attention! (To Your Body, That Is)

Not entirely relevant, but toothpastefordinner.com kills me every time.
So I’ve had a few requests to address emotional eating, but it’s a pretty big (and sometimes loaded) topic, so I want to give it a little more thought before I talk about it. In the meantime, here’s a tip to help you work on eating mindfully.
I recently received an email from first30days.com (really cool site, btw!) with a genius way to make you a little more conscious about your food choices. It seems so obvious, but they way they put it just made the light bulb go off above my head. Instead of thinking of how good something is going to taste or feel right now, think about how you’ll feel and how it will affect you in three hours. When they put it like that, all I could think was, ‘Um, duh.’ A huge meal always makes me feel comatose after 3 hours. And too much sugar never fails to give me a headache and make me nauseous long after the taste is gone.
When I read the email I realized I had been doing just that lately. For a while there I was not tuning in so well to my body and was rushing around grabbing whatever – and some of it wasn’t the most nutritious stuff out there. It wasn’t really messing with my weight or anything, but it certainly didn’t make me feel good. So lately I’ve been thinking about how the things I’m putting into my body will affect my entire body – not only three hours from now, but three days, and even three months from now. Will a heavier meal later at night mess with my sleep or leave me waking up uncomfortable the next morning? If I’m starving when I get home after a 14-hour workday, should I grab whatever or actually take a breath and plate a balanced meal with lots of veggies? Will whole foods most likely satisfy me more and give me more energy in the long run than processed bars and shakes?
Stopping to think for a minute about how I’ll react to what I’m eating has really boosted my energy and my mood – this week especially. I’ve felt more productive, getting up early hasn’t been as much of a struggle, and I’ve had six (yeah, SIX!) pretty kickass workouts this week alone! Even waking up at 7am this morning (I don’t DO early Saturdays) was pretty easy! And I definitely won’t complain about feeling better in my clothes.
I want to know what YOU think of this idea. Are you generally good at eating mindfully? Do you have to work at it? Have you been working on it? How does it make you feel when you make conscious choices regarding your food? And for all of you pros out there, got any tips for those making an effort to eat mindfully?
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About Heather

My name is Heather, and I moved from a big Midwestern university to a GIGANTIC Midwestern city. I'm working at a gym as a personal trainer, and I work as a freelance writer on the side. Sometimes I pretend to be an adult. I'm also figuring out how to keep my mouth shut every once in a while -- not here, though. How boring would that be?

Posted on January 30, 2010, in body, clean, eating, gym, listening, mindful eating, morning, positivity, self-love, sleep, tuning in, working out. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I do this A LOT! I often come home and eat way too much because I'm starving and need to destress after a long day. I end up feeling like crap after and wish I had made a nice, nutritious meal. I'll definitely take your advice on mindful eating.

  2. I think it is about time to STOP! letting ONESELF be the REASON WHY we continually fall into this downward spiral of bad eating habits. It is time to start holding OURSELVES accountable for when and what it is we choose to put in our bodies. Quit letting lame excuses be the scapegoat to holding us back from achieving our fitness goals! We are all WELL capable of doing this and here is a very simple solution. Plan every, YES EVERY, single one of the 25-30 meals AND snacks that you will be eating the entire work week ahead of you. You wont have to rush and worry about what you are going to eat for breakfast in morning and dinner can be served when needed according to your sleep schedule. And trust me, this is a lot easier than it sounds and once you get the hang of it, will make life that much easier. HAPPY EATING! :oD

  3. The thinking ahead 3 hours is pretty smart. I've found, though, that I'll adjust my caloric intake really based on what I'm doing that day anyways … if I end up sitting at a desk at work, I'll eat a lot less, or drink more fluids / eat a salad versus getting something that will sit in the pit of my stomach at my desk later.Another point you might want to consider also is just drinking water when you get a hunger pang. Oftentimes, it's your body needing water that triggers to chemicals saying "Feed me!" and pounding a burrito does a lot less than 8 oz of water too … plus you have the benefit of not eating the burrito!

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