This simple mindfulness exercise could help transform your eating habits.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

Check in on your numbers to determine when you should eat and when you should stop.

What If I Told You Healthful Eating Is Not About The Food?

OK, that’s not totally true. Nutrition matters. The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you love. There’s a room for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and there’s no need to eliminate an ingredient (like butter or salt) or food group (like banishing carbs).

But… We Overthink “What” Is On the Plate and Underthink “Why” and “How Much”

Humans, for the most part, suck at mindfulness. We are a culture of distracted, dedicated multitaskers. When we do 2-5 things at once we aren’t paying attention to any of it. We might be there but we are not aware.

The Culture of Busyness: We’ve made busyness a competitive sport in our busyness as a badge of honor culture. We brag about how tired and exhausted we are, how much stuff we cram onto our calendars, how we’ve run around and been so productive and crossed so much stuff off our to-do lists, and yet have so much more to do. It’s become so ingrained, we don’t realize we’re doing it! – Brigid Schulte, author The Overwhelm

My social media feed is overflowing with “what” to eat or “what” to definitely avoid.  In busyness reality, if we stop to think about “what” goes on our plate at all, we are best served to view it as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health, but it is not nearly as extreme as you would think. My 3 year old will devour kale, but she needs it to taste good. When I saute kale with butter and salt, it wins dinner. I’m OK with that.

How Often Do You Think About “Why” “How Much” to Eat?

This hunger scale can help you make choices about eating more easily using a basic mindfulness skill we all have access to – self awareness.

  • Why eat? – Hungry (for the most part… this is not a rule, but a guide based on your body’s needs)
  • How much? – Until you get comfortable full, no longer hungry.

All you need to start using self awareness is two things: 1. Stop 2. Pay attention That’s it.

Eating should feel good before during and after and you will feel your best physically and emotionally eating in the range of 3-7, on a scale out of 10.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

 

How Can Mindfulness Transform My Habits

The definition of a habit is a routine you do without having to think about it. It’s mindless. Now, that’s a good thing when it’s a habit you want to keep. But what if you’re trying to eat better?

All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. It’s a big ole waste of time you don’t have. Using mindfulness as a guide you don’t have to worry about anything except eating when you feel hungry, making a balanced plate (when you want to prioritize health and nutrition), and savoring your meal as you notice getting more full.

Paying attention will help you make food choices and it’s so much easier than dieting and calorie counting.

“I Can’t Figure Out My Numbers”

Yes you can.

You get good at mindfulness by practicing mindfulness. You get good at connecting to your body by trying to connect to your body. You get good at choosing a hunger number by practicing choosing your hunger number.

You are a resourceful person. You can do great things. But you need to slow down. Sit down. And focus on eating. I know you’re busy, but you deserve that time.

Tweetables

This #free hunger scale is an easy guide to help you decide when to eat and when to stop. Click To Tweet The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you… Click To Tweet we are best served to view eating as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health Click To Tweet All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. Click To Tweet

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Comments

  1. says

    Love the Hunger Number chart. I printed that out and plan to use it in a series of talks I’m giving to teens this spring (with credit to you, of course!). Thank you.

  2. says

    Great post Rebecca! I did my thesis on the hunger fullness scale and eating disorder behaviors! This brings back memories of that, and so important to share. I’ll be pinning this to share with my students in Nutr 150 Monday- we were just talking about this! #mindfuleating

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