Mindfulness is a practical foundation in the Mindful Nutrition Method™ and everything we do here at Nutrition Stripped, however, most people don’t believe that mindfulness is an essential part of nourishing themselves.
Practicing mindfulness daily can support your eating habits and give you countless other benefits of meditation itself.
If you are new to the waking world, let’s first define what it is:
Mindfulness is experiencing the present moment by increasing awareness of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, environment, and bodily sensations while practicing non-judgment and empathy as you notice.
This awareness supports you in more ways than one in terms of how to nourish yourself, so let’s explore why it is important to use mindfulness while building your eating habits.
How practicing meditation can positively support your eating habits
1. You develop a positive relationship with food
With a mindful approach to nutrition, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to eat. Mindfulness helps you let go of judgments, guilt, and perfection, and instead learn to practice self-compassion so that you can learn from your experiences and appreciate the many roles food plays in your life.
2. You gain confidence in what is best for your unique needs
You learn how to develop a deeper awareness of your body and your experiences, which guides you to uncover and understand your unique needs. As you become more in tune with your body, you build confidence in the best way to nourish and care for yourself, making your eating habits easier.
3. You are the best care for all aspects of your well-being
Mindfulness meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been shown to reduce levels of stress, anxiety, depression, physical pain, heart rate, and high blood pressure while increasing and enhancing emotional health, attention span, immune function, and brain and mental functions. Clarity, mental focus, a sense of calm and sleep. Not only does mindfulness itself have a direct impact on your health, but when these areas of your health are taken care of, it supports your ability to make nutritious choices for yourself.
4 steps to creating a meditation practice
There are so many accessible ways to start meditating! Whatever your learning preferences, there is a resource available including apps, books, videos, group classes, and one-on-one coaching that you can use to start your meditation.
1. Create a quiet and relaxing space
Sitting still can be very challenging, especially if you are just beginning your waking journey. Having a comfortable place to sit for meditation is key.
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2. Download a meditation app and start small
If you’re just starting out, one of the easiest things to do is use an app on your phone to try out guided meditations and decide what type of meditation you enjoy.
Some well-rated apps include:
Once you find an app that has the meditation style you like, find a few meditations of 5 minutes or less. Remember that you are just getting started and it will take a bit to build patience, comfort, ease in sitting down and clear your mind.
You don’t need to start with 30 minutes (and you may never need or want that long!) Take one step at a time and know that 2-5 minutes is more than enough to start feeling transformed!
How to strengthen your connection between mind and body
3. Choose which part of your routine suits your meditation practice
Setting an alarm to wake up early may not be the best time to meditate.
Instead, look at your current day and find where you usually have 5-10 minutes. This could be on your lunch break, right before bed, or in the morning while brewing your coffee or tea.
Building a meditation practice into your already established routine will make it easier for you to follow along! Once you know what time is right for you, set a reminder or alarm in your phone or on your calendar so you don’t forget. It is a new habit and having this reminder will be very helpful in developing the habit.
4. Keep a reflective journal
I cannot recommend journaling enough because it is one of the most powerful tools.
You can use a journal to support you in many different ways from food journaling (eg what you ate, when, how you feel, what your hunger is, food cravings, digestion issues, emotional health around the meal, etc.), to jotting Diary about stress from the day as a way to meditate, to diary about what you are grateful for each morning, etc.
Writing a physical diary with pen and paper has been shown to help increase cognitive function and information retention rather than using a digital one – so try the old-fashioned way and check in with yourself.
After your mediation, take two minutes to write down and think about how you feel, what happened during the exercise, and your intention for the day (or the next if you’ve been meditating at night). This extra moment of alertness after practicing meditation instructs you to adjust your mind and body more and can help you deepen your practice.
Put it into practice
Meditation is a practice for a reason. There is no wrong way to meditate and you will find what works best for you as you practice and adapt to it. Getting started is the first step to developing a strong meditation practice.