The Art of Eating with Zen
THE ZEN OF EATING
Bringing Consciousness Into Eating
So many of us are leading the modern, busy lifestyle where eating food does not get a whole lot of mindfulness. I know for myself that I take great care in what I choose to eat, but all too often I eat on the go, standing up and FAST. I know I am not alone here! This has been an area of my own life that I have been working on.
Over the past year (and I have been working at this for a decade) I have finally started to naturally bring more awareness to the way that I eat and enjoy my food. It has been eye opening. I have tuned into what makes me want to eat mindlessly. I have tuned into myself eating beyond what my needs are. I have tuned into eating slowly and tasting my food. I have tuned into how different macro nutrient groups make me feel. I have really tuned into what foods actually just do not work for me. It is a whole new set of knowledge about myself.
I do believe that tuning into your meals with your mind can help increase the enjoyment of food, eliminate cravings and help us to arrive at our own ideal weight and find greater balance with food in our lives. I see that for so many people their body issues and health issues come from an imbalance of food in their lives and mainly it is simply eating the wrong foods in the wrong amount for our bodies.
TOOLS FOR CONSCIOUS EATING
In addition to eating healthy, nutrient rich food, here are some other practices that we share with our HCG Diet and general Wellness patients at The Natural Path.
Breathing Awareness Meditation
This is so simple and so incredibly EFFECTIVE for so many of my patients. It does not take much time at all.
Does your Appetite Have Messages?
Your body sends many important messages to your mind every millisecond. One of the most important signals the body sends is that of hunger. As blood sugar levels drop, our leptin levels drop and signal hunger to our brain.
SO many people look to their appetite as an enemy. I encourage people to make friends with their appetite and honor its message. This is a fundamental aspect of a healthy lifestyle plan. This rule is oh so simple: Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. If you think of your appetite as a gauge ranging from empty (0) to full (10), our recommendation is to eat when you are fairly hungry (at a level 2 to 3) and stop when you are comfortably full but not stuffed (6 to 7).
When we fill our stomachs to capacity, we do not allow our digestive juices to work optimally. Think about your washing machine … if you stuff too many clothes into it they will not get so clean. Just an analogy!
Be careful eating on a schedule that is regulated by time and not your appetite. Many people eat because it is time to eat … not because their bodies want any food. Pay attention when you begin a meal to noitice if you are actually hungry. If you are not hungry, have something light or wait until your appetite sends you a message.
TRY THIS … you can do anything for 2 weeks. Challenge your humanness:) For the next two weeks, start eating only when your hunger is at level 2. This may mean eating meals at unusual times of day or not eating for prolonged periods of time. The entire process should be based on comfort. Always stop eating before you reach level 8. With practice, you’ll be able to identify your level of satisfaction at any given moment and you will become aware of your body’s inner signals. You will likely find your biological clock adjusts after two weeks, and you will begin to eat meals at around the same time every day. I find this stuff fascinating.
Favor Fresh Foods
Invite your Food to Feed Your Body and not Your Emotions
Right from the start, the association with food strongly connects to safety and comfort. Our mothers breast or bottle was the main thing that soothed our bodies from the distress of early life.
Honestly, it is so natural that as adults we turn to food when we feel stress or anxiety. Heck, people also eat because they are happy, sad, ecstatic or bored. Human beings seek pleasure and there is nothing wrong with that now and again. Unfortunately, if you are trying to fill your emotional needs (such as a lack of love, being lonely, etc) you will not find lasting success and the excess calories will pile on as stored fat. There are other ways you can learn to satisfy the needs of your emotional heart (I know it is harder said than done)!
Let food be there to meet the energy needs of the body and hopefully you can also find a way to find joy in that. I can hardly believe the joy I get from eating something right off the vine or branch.
Thoughts of Encouragement for my Patients
Once you’ve learned to live in alignment with the needs of your body when it comes to food, you will naturally arrive at the perfect weight for you. Cravings for unhealthy foods will come less frequently and self esteem begins to arise. You will find a new sense of control within yourself and it is powerful as it delivers a sense of emotional and physical well being. Sedentary habits can begin to transform into a new enthusiasm and zest for life.
By gaining a sense of balance in this vital area of your life, you will take an important step of inspiration to fulfilling your own unlimited potential.
This could potentially be some of the most life changing information that I have shared with my patients. All if this I learned through the Chopra Center in their Mind-Body program.
Categories: Mindful Eating