Mindful Eating: Hunger vs Cravings

Eating mindfully is a such a buzz word these days. Let;s get down to what eating mindfully actually is and how you can do it. A workbook is included for the overachievers. 

What is all this mindful eating stuff about? You’ve heard it, and thought “I am doing good to eat healthy, much less mindfully.”   I hear ya. It is hard enough for me to find time to eat while feeding two little humans.

The thing is, I think mindful eating can help even the busiest of moms. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy… like taking five deep breaths before you eat anything. It can just be becoming more aware of the bites of food you throw in your mouth in between refilling sippy cups.  Just getting away from thinking eating healthy is a game of willpower, and focusing on eating when you are hungry is mindful eating.

My definition for mindful eating is: 

A compassionate and nonjudgemental way to feed your body the food it needs.  

This can be done by paying attention to the present. Focusing on your emotion and thoughts before you eat. Use all the your senses when you eat, focus on eating… just eating.

Mindful Eating Podcast

Check out this podcast I did with Ashley from Heart Food Podcast! We cover a lot, but out main topic was mindful eating! Enjoy!

How Do I Actually Eat Mindfully?

The very first step in mindful eating is knowing the difference between hunger and a craving. Right now you might not even realize the reason you are doing most of your eating is not due to hunger.

What is a craving, how is this different than hunger? Real easy…. Is it specific? Things like… dark chocolate or french fries or pickles? These are cravings. If you would rather not eat a salad for lunch, but would eat if you could have Chick-fil-a this is a craving. Your cravings will tell you plenty about if you are eating mindfully or not. Start paying attention to them. What are you having cravings for? When are you having them?  

After recognizing what your cravings are for and when they are happening the next step is to gain freedom from them.

How to gain freedom from your cravings.

Stop eating addictive foods. Did you know sugar and alcohol are addictive? Probably, but did you ever think about how this affects you. Cravings for addictive foods are the read deal. Remove them from your diet for awhile, and you will be surprised by how quickly you don’t crave them anymore.

Routine can be a part of cravings. For example you have a bowl of ice cream before bed every night. Your body gets use to this routine (and the sugar).  The ritual of ice cream before bed becomes something that has control over you. Break the cycle!

What type of hunger is your craving geared towards? Mind hunger, you need it to cope with an emotion. Eye hunger, you saw it on a menu photo and now you want it. Heart hunger, your with your family on Christmas afternoon. All these needs are not actually met with food. Try fulfilling them in other ways.

Lastly, is self talk. You might think this one is silly, but just call it out. Tell yourself this is a craving. I am not really hungry and I don’t need that order of french fries. Bring the craving to light, and you might be surprised by how quickly it disappears.