We have become an easily distracted society. We are rewarded for productivity and multi-tasking, while relaxation and self-care are often frowned upon. This carries over into mealtime also. It is often rushed, as we grab a quick bite that we eat in front of the TV or in front of a screen. Even if we sit down for a meal together, we are scrolling on our phones or responding to texts. It’s like being on automatic pilot, eating while barely chewing or even tasting what we are consuming. It’s no accident that so many people have intestinal and gut difficulties and that weight issues and eating disorders are at epidemic levels.
I believe that many of these issues can be helped through mindful and intuitive eating.
Being mindful is simply being present. It is living in the moment, rather than in the past or the future or being distracted by the myriad of thoughts and feelings that come at us every day. Mindfulness is a proven way of reducing anxiety and the damaging cortisol that is produced by stress.
Mindful and intuitive eating are ways of eating that harness the power of the body to guide you to optimum physical and emotional health. It’s the opposite of dieting, which artificially over-rides signals from your body. Diets and diet culture force you to disconnect from your body, your hunger, and your cravings. Food becomes about “bad and good” when it is neutral. Through diets and diet culture, you become a slave to an artificial, outside source that assumes we are all the same, when we are quite different.
Mindful and intuitive eating create an atmosphere where your mind and body are one, where you begin to love and accept your body rather than treating it like it is the enemy or something that needs to be controlled or restricted. It may terrify you to think about letting go of counting calories, always eating clean or “healthy” or of your weight changing. By listening to your body, being present and letting it direct YOU, you can become free of overthinking and worrying, able to enjoy life more in the present and in the future.
Here are some tips to get you started with mindful and intuitive eating:
1. Ask your body what it wants. If you have a craving, pay attention
2. Let your body guide you to the specific food you want and hold it in your hand. No judgment. There are no “good” or “bad” foods.
3. Take one bite and chew it slowly. Let yourself taste it. If you aren’t enjoying it, spit it out and eat something else. If it tastes good, take another bite, and chew it slowly. Repeat until you are satisfied.
4. A short time later, notice how you feel. This will help you determine if the food was a good choice for your body. Often overlooked symptoms related to food and chemical reactions are headaches, a stuffy nose or sinus pain, postnasal drip, mood changes (positive or negative), fatigue, brain fog, stomach aches or bloating. These reactions may occur minutes or hours after consuming certain substances.
If you let your body be your guide and pay attention when you eat, you will not need to self-medicate your emotions away with food or drink. Try being mindful during other activities as well such as movement, spending time with friends and loved ones and being in nature. Pay attention to the physical and emotional changes that occur. Mindfulness can be frightening because you are allowing yourself to feel emotions that you are used to pushing down.
Some of these emotions may be painful but if you push them down, they don’t go away, they go into the body and create physical and emotional symptoms. Just try eating mindfully for one short meal and see how you feel. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so be gentle with yourself.
Katie Beecher, MS, LPC is an Internationally known Medical and Spiritual Intuitive and Licensed Professional Counselor. She creates an extensive report and symbolic painting for her clients, people and animals, knowing just their name and age. Katie is featured in many publications and blogs, including Poosh, Well and Good, Lyme 360 and Goop, who calls her “eerily accurate”.
Heal from Within: A Guidebook to Intuitive Wellnes, is her book about connecting to intuition, healing and wellness and how she healed from a severe eating disorder, depression and anxiety. She shares the exclusive techniques she uses in her readings and knowledge from her intuitive guides and Jungian psychology.
To learn more about Katie and make an appointment, head to katiebeecher.com and also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.