Hello, friends and bariatric warriors,
I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits on your unique journeys to wellness. Today, I want to delve into a topic that has personally resonated with me – mindful eating.
When you embark on the path of bariatric surgery, you make a profound commitment to your health and well-being. It’s a journey of transformation that goes beyond physical changes; it’s about nurturing a wholesome relationship with food, body, and self. Mindful eating is a concept that aligns beautifully with this commitment and offers invaluable insights into our hunger and fullness cues.
The Heart of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is not a diet; it’s a way of reconnecting with the sensory experience of eating. It’s about savoring each bite, fully engaging with the flavors, textures, and aromas of our food. But it’s also about tuning into our body’s signals – the gentle cues of hunger and the contented sense of fullness.
Why is Mindful Eating Important?
For those of us who are conscious of our health and well-being, mindful eating takes on great significance. It helps us recognize the subtle cues that indicate we’ve had enough. Especially after certain experiences, it’s easy to misinterpret our body’s signals. We might still have food on our plates, but our stomachs are saying, “I’m satisfied.” Being in tune with these cues can prevent uncomfortable overeating and promote healthier portion control.
Cultivating a Healthy Relationship with Food
Many of us have complex histories with food, often marked by emotional connections or using food as a source of comfort. Mindful eating encourages us to embrace food without judgment, allowing us to appreciate its nourishing qualities while reducing the emotional charge.
Enhancing Nutrient Intake
Every bite we take matters. Mindful eating helps us make the most of our food intake by ensuring that we choose nutrient-dense options and savor them fully. This can aid in better nutrient absorption and overall health.
How to Practice Mindful Eating
- Engage Your Senses: Before you take a bite, pause to appreciate the appearance, smell, and texture of your food. Allow your senses to fully immerse you in the experience.
- Eat Slowly: Put your fork down between bites. Savor the flavors in your mouth. Eating slowly gives your body time to send those vital fullness signals.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Are you eating because you’re truly hungry, or is it out of habit or emotion? Stop when you’re satisfied, not when your plate is empty.
- Eliminate Distractions: Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and create a peaceful eating environment. This allows you to focus entirely on your meal.
- Practice Gratitude: Take a moment to express gratitude for your food and the nourishment it provides. This can be a powerful way to shift your mindset around eating.
- Forgive Yourself: If you have moments where you eat mindlessly or slip back into old habits, practice self-compassion. Remember, mindful eating is a journey, not a destination.
Mindful eating is a friendly companion on our path to health and well-being. It’s not about perfection but rather about embracing the imperfect, ever-evolving journey we’re on. By paying close attention to our hunger and fullness cues, we can prevent overeating, nurture a healthy relationship with food, and make the most of each nourishing bite.
I encourage you to explore mindful eating at your own pace. It’s a practice that can enrich your journey and help you build a more profound connection with the sustenance that fuels your transformation.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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