One of the most important habits I encourage you to practice is mindfulness. Before you eat, try to become aware of why you are craving certain foods or feeling hunger. Is it emotional? Are you procrastinating doing something you don’t want to do? Do you feel sad and craving a rush of comfort? Are you on your cycle and craving iron? If you are an emotional eater like me, it is easier to break the habit when you pause and check in with yourself. Are you really just dehydrated? Dehydration masks itself as hunger, so if you are hungry or stressed I recommend drinking a full glass of water 10 minutes before you eat. Usually your body feels better and you end up eating less. Then, during your meal, try to savor your food and chew extensively. Not only is this crucial to healthy digestion, but you end up eating less because you aren’t inhaling the food compulsively and you allow your mind to keep up with your stomach.
Another good habit is expressing gratitude for the meal before you put it into your body. Gratitude is an extremely powerful force. Not only will you positively affect the vibration of the food along the same lines as the water experiment I mentioned before, but it’s an act of honoring your body and honoring all of the workers, the earth, and the elements that contributed to your ability to eat the food in front of you. Remember, there are people even in our own country that aren’t able to eat when they are hungry. Be grateful.
Then, after your meal, pay attention to how you feel. You will begin to notice that certain foods make you feel energized and strong, while others make you feel sluggish. You might notice that your nose starts running or you experience a low-grade headache after certain meals. Some foods keep you full until the next meal, while others leave you hungry an hour later . Some foods might put you in a bad mood. I notice when I consume a lot of sugar, like drinking wine AND eating dessert at a restaurant, I become agitated and pissy. So, if I am having a couple glasses of wine I stay mindful to only have a couple bites of dessert, or choose berries over the soufflé. Start paying attention to how different foods make you feel and adjust your diet accordingly.
While diet books seem extremely convincing, only your body truly knows best. What works for a lot of people might not necessarily work for you. This is the concept of bio-individuality. Your cultural background, where you grew up, the diet you grew up eating, stress levels, and environmental factors all play a role in determining what works for different people. Listen to and trust your body. With a little mindfulness, you will discover what your body really wants and needs.