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  • Writer's pictureNicole Hutchison

Mindful Eating

When I say “diet” what comes up for you? Maybe close your eyes for just a moment and notice what thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, and what you may be feeling in your body. Take note of all of this without judgement or criticism…just notice. Be curious about why you are having the thoughts, emotions, and body sensations that you are having, whether they are positive or negative. If the thoughts/emotions/sensations become too strong or overwhelming, bring your focus back to your breath or the feeling of your feet on the floor and give yourself a little space from the intensity of what you are feeling. As you slowly open your eyes, write notes for yourself about anything that came up for you.

What beliefs do you hold about what food is or is not? What beliefs do you have about yourself and your relationship with food, what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat? Are there certain “rules” you feel like you need to follow about eating? Take a few moments to jot these things down as well. Where do you think some of these beliefs came from?

I would like to challenge you to reframe your beliefs about food. Let's begin by changing our language, so rather than “diet” let’s use the term “Mindful Eating.” Food can be medicine. We can choose to experience eating as self-care for our bodies, nourishing our bodies. Our bodies need nutrition, regardless of our specific fitness goals. Our bodies need nourishment for general health and wellness. Creating space in our lives for Mindful Eating allows us to focus on eating/food as an experience of not just the body but also of the mind.

What types of food do you enjoy? Are you attracted to certain flavors, colors or textures? Do you take time to notice what hunger and fullness feel like to you and honor those feelings? Does your mind and/or body seem to feel better or not as well with certain foods? Do you know if you have any specific food sensitivities or allergies? Maybe religious or cultural beliefs that impact your food choices?

For now, I know this is scary but let's say there are no rules. Experiment with different foods and what you enjoy or not, listen for body cues about hunger and fullness, be curious about how your body responds to different foods. Only track what you are eating if you feel it will be helpful in your learning process. Do not count calories or focus on past rules you have followed about food.

You have maybe spent a lifetime dieting. Maybe you’re tired of always depriving yourself of something and still never seeing the results you want to see. We may need to work on certain food addictions or unhealthy relationships with food and your body. You are more than the number on the scale, and you can be healthy at any size/shape. We want to help you to break free of society’s lies about health and wellness and nutrition. We want to help you find joy in food again, and to fall in love with your body again. In healing your relationship with food and your body, nourishing your body will become a beautiful act of self-care.

Schedule time each day to nourish your body. General guidelines include:

  • Eat within one hour of waking up in the morning.

  • Enjoy smaller meals throughout your day, about every 3-4 hours.

  • Include variety in your nutrition. Experiment and maybe find new things you enjoy.

  • Opt for whole foods rather than processed foods. Balance fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats and oils.

  • Set yourself up for success by planning your meals in advance and having them easily accessible.

Mindful Eating is a practice. With time, you will see changes in your health and wellness mind, body and spirit. In restoring your relationship with food, you can achieve a peace you never thought possible.

~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Holistic Health & Integrative Nutrition Coach

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Our providers enjoy sharing articles on a wide variety of health and wellness topics.  The information in these articles is intended for general information only, and should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure any condition.  Seek the advice of your medical provider or other qualified healthcare professional for personalized care regarding your unique needs and goals.

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