It’s time to celebrate! “Celebrate what?” you ask — National Nutrition Month!
"Savor The Flavor of Eating Right"
This year’s theme is "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” and I love this notion because it embodies more than just flavor. The theme also focuses on the importance of enjoying food traditions and appreciating the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives.
In my experience working with clients, if you only focus on what you’re eating, the plan won’t last long. Surprisingly, that’s not enough. Here’s why…how, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat.
Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods – that’s the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!
What Does It Mean To Eat Mindful?
#1) Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings and physical cues when eating.
#2) Mindful eating means noticing the smells, colors, textures, flavors and sounds of the food.
#3) It is awareness without judgement, of yourself, or anyone else. What does hunger feel like? What does satisfaction feel like? What does overeating feel like? How does our mood influence our eating? Are we truly eating because of hunger? Are we anxious and eating for stress relief? (It’s called “comfort food” for a reason.)
#4) Mindful eating means not getting distracted, or quickly end the distraction and get back to just eating. Our world is full of distractions. Is the TV on while you’re eating? Are you checking email on your phone, or browsing the web? Is your focus on posting pictures of your food rather than eating it (or responding to comments from your last food photo post)? Notice those distractions, or impulses toward a distraction, let it go, and return to focusing on your food.
Why Is Mindful Eating Important?
#1) It provides an opportunity for a change. With awareness, you can change your relationship with food, for example, using hunger and satisfaction to decide to start and stop eating, rather than the clock or serving size on the plate. You can identify when emotions like stress, or social pressures, trigger you to eat mindlessly.
#2) Research is already showing how mindful eating may help with weight loss. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register fullness (satiety); eat too fast, and this signal for fullness may come after overeating has already occurred. Distracted eating, like while driving or typing, may slow down or stop digestion similar to a “flight or fight” response. Mindfulness may help people recognize the difference between physical and emotional hunger, and allow them to make a conscious choice between the urge and eating.
What will you do this week to incorporate mindful eating into your daily life?
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
The Center for Mindful Eating. March is National Nutrition Month. Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. National Nutrition Month.