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Mindful Eating: A New Year’s Resolution

Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD

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Mindful Eating is getting more and more attention. And for good reason. Mindful eating teaches you to honor your hunger and fullness cues, meaning no more
Mindful Eating is getting more and more attention. And for good reason. Mindful eating teaches you to honor your hunger and fullness cues, meaning no more

Do you habitually abandon your resolutions by February? Or heck, even mid January?

Many resolutions are health related, particularly diet, exercise, and weight.  We place strict rules on ourselves that become impossible to stick to once the high of the resolution wears off.

Often times, Whole30 rears it’s ugly head this time of year. Or the Paleo Diet. So do resolutions of going strictly veg*n or losing weight very rapidly with some other form of severe food restrictions or excessive exercise.

Instead of rigid, often arbitrary, rules consider making a resolution to eat mindfully.

Why Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating teaches you to listen to your body. It eliminates the fear of “bad” foods. Instead of restricting yourself from foods you deem unhealthy or fattening, you learn to eat for health the majority of the time, but enjoy the hell out of a treat from time to time as well.

As you become more skilled in Mindful Eating, the 2 extremes of the hunger scale no longer rule your thought process or affect your mood or feelings of wellness.

Teaches you to manage your emotions in a healthy way

When you begin to realize you are using food to force down or avoid an emotion, you can start to figure out a game plan on how to actually address and resolve those emotions.

Figure out what you actually need when you feel the urge to binge on certain foods. Do you need to call a friend? Schedule a therapy appointment? Get out nervous or jittery energy by going for a walk in the park?

You may get more enjoyment out from your food

Learn to slooow down when you eat.  Many of my clients report that they actually enjoy food MORE when they take at least 20 minutes to finish a meal. They can taste more flavors and complexity in the dishes.  They notice different textures.

And they’re not uncomfortably full or guilty when they’re done.

You’ll reach a healthy (for you) weight

Not everyone has the same healthy, or ideal, weight. And there is no “ideal body shape.”

But when you eat to fuel your body, stop when you’re done, are active throughout the day, and enjoy the occasional treat, most people will settle into the weight that is meant for them. Where the feel energized and clear-minded instead of tired, grouchy, and foggy-headed.

Stop trying diets to force your poor body into that of a social media model and allow it to settle where it’s comfortable.

Recognize that Mindful Eating is a skill you have to re-learn

Once upon a time, you were a mindful eater. You knew when you were hungry and when you were full. You ate because you enjoyed food and to fuel your body.
But along the way, and for various reasons, you were taught to ignore those cues and eat based on the time and what you were served instead.

Luckily though, just as you learned to stop eating mindfully, you can learn to do it again!

Read more on Mindful Eating.

Other kind resolution ideas to consider

  • Reduce food waste
  • Choose healthier snacks
  • Be kind to yourself after a splurge/treat
  • Bring lunch from home
  • Try new foods/cuisines
  • Create a family cookbook
  • Find an exercise I enjoy

Do you have any other ideas for kinder New Year’s Resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

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