The essence of mindful eating is to help you to listen to your body. Your body wants to be healthy. It wants to stay strong and balanced.
One of the first ways you can start listening to your body is to become aware of your physical hunger. What does this feel like to you? Before you eat anything, ask yourself if you are eating because you are hungry. Here are some body signals of physical hunger:
- Your stomach feels empty;
- You might start to feel a little light headed or dizzy;
- You could feel a little shaky;
- If you don’t eat straight away, these sensations might go away, but then return again with more intensity.
When you start to feel hungry, some of the sensations might be because your body is starting to use its reserves, i.e. your fat stores, to get its energy. If you are trying to lose weight, this is not a bad thing. There is no need to panic because you are hungry. Just observe the sensations.
The next way to listen to your body is to become aware of your full signals. You need to observe when your body has had enough to eat. This is often when the food you are eating stops tasting as good. Observe this.
Once you are eating because you are hungry and stopping because you are full, you can start observing what foods your body is needing when you do eat. This is different to food cravings. Its more about knowing how to nourish your body, whereas cravings are often desires that aren’t rooted in nourishing your body. Cravings, in fact, are often for foods that are not good for our bodies. As an example, sugar or chocolate cravings. The more of these foods we eat, the more we want. As you get more in tune with your body, you’ll be able to distinguish between cravings and what your body’s cells actually need. And the more you listen to your body, its hungry and full signals, and satisfy it with foods that nourish it, the less likely you are to overeat.
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