Lockdown life has created and bought up a lot of emotions in many of us. Being out of our normal daily routine with less distractions and things to fragment our time, can lead to increased anxiety. There is such a proven link between mood and food so it makes sense that how we feel, affects the choices we make and what we put in our bodies.
Are you feeling overworked, stressed, and feel the pressure to continually overachieve? These factors are all recognised as contributing to challenges with mindful eating, weight loss and maintaining a healthy diet.
Can you relate to any of these frustrations?
Trying to be good over past few months but by midday’ falling off the wagon’ and caving into sugar laden comfort foods.
Wanting to do the online yoga class but getting hooked onto Netflix instead and mindlessly eating a packet of biscuits then feeling bad and finishing the kids yummy chocolate chip ice cream too?
Wanting to diet yet every time you are inspired to do so, something tips you off track and you end up eating too much and beating yourself up for it?
When you don’t identify and understand the reasons you comfort eat, not only are any weight loss plans a temporary fix, you are much more likely to continue overeating and gain more weight afterwards.
Food is often comforting and can be ‘something to do’ when we are faced with less things on our plates. This can be at odds with our decision to ‘be good’ and ‘eat well’ over lock down.
Tools like having a food mood diary and practicing mindful eating will be a big help in terms of allowing you to observe what you are eating and what emotions or circumstances may be triggering a desire to eat and to reach for comfort of sugar laden foods. There is a strong link between mindful eating and being in control of your weight and what you are putting into your bodies.
Think of mindful eating like flexing the ‘connection with food’ muscle. The more you focus on it, the more control you have over what you are putting into your body. Suddenly you aren’t a victim to mindless eating and the ongoing cycle of punishment and reward, feast and famine but the master of your own healthy food choices.
Experiencing freedom in eating and really enjoying this time, creating happy memories around the dinner table with families and friends, is one of life’s greatest joys. Due to so much emotion and guilt wrapped around what we eat, we often miss this pleasure.
From working with thousands of women on our Bali yoga retreats, here are the 4 key things we recommend that will help you develop the food and mood connection.
Begin a food mood diary that allows you to track what you are eating and when. Through this you will be able to observe what your patterns are like and begin to take control back.
Make the Time
So many of our guests on our women’s retreat in Bali, share how they are guilty of eating on the fly, often standing up as they go about their busy day. When we are in this flight mode it’s difficult to have any mind, food and body connection and thus to make bad choices or not allow your mind to appreciate the food and register that you are full. Create the space and environment to actually sit down, free of technology and distractions and focus on the enjoyment of your meal. Try to also prepare your meals in a mindful way without clutter and distraction.
Take the Time
Tune into what you are about to eat. Before you even have your first bite, bring yourself to the present. Appreciate what you have on your plate. Really slow down and chew your food well. Relish in the delight of eating delicious food. This optimises digestion and will help your body respond to natural satiety cues.
Before you eat, take a few deep breaths to relax and ground yourself. This shifts your nervous system into a resting state — the parasympathetic nervous system — where your body can digest and receive the maximum nutrition from your meal. Notice the appearance, taste, smell, texture and make note of your hunger, fullness and satisfaction before, during and after the meal.
When you are eating, notice the smells, the colours, the textures, the temperature and of course the taste.
How does it actually taste? Think about where it came from?
Chew slowly and saviour the taste and sensations it creates in your body. Does it feel warm? Does it feel heavy?
It’s so important to break free of the cycle of emotional eating. Mindful eating is a brilliant tool to help free us of these shackles. By being an observer and not judging ourselves on what we ate but rather asking how it made us feel, we will get a greater insight into our patterns. Once we have that, this awareness allows us to rebuild any behaviours or habits that may be standing in our way of having that deeper mind-body connection and also perhaps being the optimal weight we desire.
If you would like to explore this deeper and work with our Bali retreats Resident Nutritionist, Nikki Heyder, join us on our simple yet powerful 21-day nutrition, cooking, fitness and yoga virtual retreat called Nourish @ Home. You’ll experience hands on guidance and support to help reset your food choices, inspiring wellbeing workshops where you’ll learn so many healthy tools you can apply, powerful daily video lessons including cooking workshops, a private Facebook group community of other like minded women and 17 live yoga, fitness, meditation and pilates classes to dive into making you feel like you are actually in our Bali retreat. It’s led by our resident nutritionist Nikki Heyder and our expert wellbeing team. Your 21-day future self is waiting. A stronger, happier and healthier you is three weeks away from now. Join us here.