THREE Signs You’re Becoming a More Mindful Eater
I’m not going to lie. Mindful eating isn’t one of those things by which you can gauge your success in terms numbers, scales and data. It’s more amorphous, less defined, and you can feel your success more so than by measuring it.
I know you like defined, black-and-white definitions of success - we all crave that. But for me, personally, when I was able to let go of the traditionally defined versions of success and failure, I was able to viscerally experience the massive transformations that were happening, rather than by measuring it through my online apps and/or the scale.
We severely limit our ability to witness inner change when we only focus on outer change - measurable change. In fact, I’ll be bold and say that sometimes, it’s the inner transformations, that no other person can witness or assess tangibly, that are often the ones most “successful” as well as most sustainable.
In my opinion, this is very much true with food and eating.
Some people may shy away from adopting mindful and intuitive eating practices simply because there is no quick fix or some set of data that can prove it’s working. Some people will ONLY let themselves relish in success that is definable in some way - Biometrics, the scale, a PR at Cross fit, etc..
I think all of that is great, by the way! So many of us need those data points to motivate and encourage us to push further to reach our goals. Let me make it super-duper clear: I’m not bashing the masculine approach. Each of us exhibits both masculine and feminine qualities and both have their pros and cons. But, we often tend to behave with one or the other as more of a guiding force.
But what about the rest of us? For people like me, all the obsession with data and numbers and goals and success stressed me right out and made me obsessive and, yes “unhealthy” about the whole process. For some the focus on numbers, data, aggressive action and empiricism is a game-changer and highly motivating.
For people like me, it pushed me over the edge.
You see, sometimes it’s the numbers we see that motivate us and drive us to move forward and sometimes it’s the numbers that make us feel hopeless, deflated and overwhelmed.
We take a very masculine approach to dieting, eating, fitness. The expectation, for me and many others was to fall in line and do it that way.
I realized, however, that taking a more feminine approach to these topics was what was missing in all of it.
I needed the compassion
I was sick of conforming to the societal version of the perfect diet, the perfect weight, the ideal fitness routine etc. because it took me away from my own version of it. And that version matters.
And so does yours.
And you get to define it.
So, in the spirit of the nurturing, more feminine approach to managing our health, our eating and our relationship with food, here are THREE signs you can use to know that you’re becoming a more mindful and intuitive eater.
You notice your hunger and satiety cues earlier.
I have had clients tell me they never get full or never get hungry or have no idea when to start or stop eating unless it’s so glaringly obvious that you’re ravenous that you’re about to pass out or so full that you need to unbutton your pants. Mindful eating helps to calm the nervous system down and in doing so over time also regulates our hunger hormones. So with continued practice of tuning in to the body, both before, during and after eating, you can get much clearer signals from within that can gently guide your decisions around food AND so you feel less mistrust of those signals.
You seem to taste your food in a more intense way, noticing more flavors and textures.
I’ll never forget the day I realized I hate Wheat Thins. You see, I used to eat loads of Wheat Thins, very quickly, often standing up, in a mad dash to avoid being seen eating said Wheat Thins. There was no pleasure in this, but that’s the extent to which Wheat Thins triggered me to overeat.
One day, during my certification process in Mindful Eating instruction, the instructor walked us through a mindful eating meditation and exercise with crackers and cheese. Of course, I used Wheat Thins and what came next was nothing short of miraculous, in my opinion.
I realized I don’t even like the TASTE or the TEXTURE of wheat thins! In that instant, I finally noticed the flavors, the processed taste at the back end of chewing it, and the utterly disappointing performance of these once favored crackers. I was done with them. Imagine how empowering, how emancipating it can be when YOU get to break up with your former trigger foods, just by learning to truly TASTE them for the first time. This is what mindful eating can do for you.
You ground yourself before eating
Maybe, in the past, you never thought twice about the circumstances of your eating experience. Maybe you dashboard dine (i.e. eat while driving), maybe you picked at your kids’ breakfast while standing up and trying to rush out the door. Maybe you’re distracted by the day’s events and don’t even realize you’re in a stress-response mode while eating.
Whatever the situation, Mindful Eaters have learned ways to slow down, bring intention and awareness to the eating experience and know how to quickly get in a relaxation response mode so that the rational part of your brain is there with you helping to guide you in making the right decisions for you that moment.
So, these are just THREE ways to realize and celebrate that you’re becoming a more mindful eater. While you may not always have direct data to point to, confirm and explain your peacefulness, calm, trust and confidence around food, the inner-knowing and satisfaction is more than enough.
You won’t know until you try, right?
Learn more by enrolling in my latest 60-minute Masterclass which outlines my 4-step process for empowered eating and peace with food.