Mindful Eating: Not just What, but also Why, How, When and Where. Part 2.
Welcome back for part two of mindful eating. Hopefully part 1 of this blog gave you some food for thought and you've been able to bring a bit of self-awareness to your eating habits. Lets dive straight in and discuss how the when and where may also be influencing your eating.
Have a think about when you are eating? What times of the day do you feel peckish? Are you a breakfast, lunch and dinner kind of person or are smaller, more frequent meals more your thing? Maybe when you get home from work all bets are off, and you'll eat whatever you can get your hands on? Do you treat yourself after the gym? Or do you actually put a meal off for a while after you start to feel hungry? Its worthwhile to consider if there are any particular times of the day that are 'danger zones' for mindless eating and why that may be.
And finally have a think about where it is that you do your eating. List down all the locations where you eat; the kitchen, at your desk, in the car, on your bed, in front of the TV, at the dining table, walking home? Do any of these particular locations influence you to eat certain types of food?
Tying it all together.
Now finally have a think about how the what, why, how, where and when all fit in together. Ultimately the food we eat comes down to habit and/or environmental influences and/or willpower and cravings...Maybe its habitual to eat a burger, after a workout, on the car ride home, after stopping at the drive through, because you feel you deserve a treat for all your hard work in the gym? Or maybe its tradition to share coffee and cake with a friend every Tuesday at the local cafe and you don't want to ruin that traditions by opting for something a little healthier? Maybe your desk is right next to the snack station at work, and damn that cupcake looks good, so as much as you try to fight it, the cravings always win?
It certainly does take a bit of time to map out all these factors, but trust me - write it down. The increased awareness of your eating patterns will help you reshape your food environment once and for all, so you can stick to a healthy eating regimen for life. The key is to make your food environment work for you, rather than against you, as this will dramatically decrease the amount of willpower needed to make healthier choices stick! And thats something we will discuss in more detail next time... So stay tuned!