Make May Mindful

Courtney Butterfield | May 8, 2018
Before eating your next bite, ask yourself “why am I eating this?” We all eat for various reasons, but ultimately we eat for two purposes. One, we are physically hungry. Or two, we are emotionally hungry. 
 
Physical vs. Emotional Hunger
 
Physical hunger is when our bodies NEED fuel. Just like gas in a car, we can be empty. Our stomach growls, we feel lightheaded, irritable, shaky, tired, etc. We need food during these times to feel nourished. These are the times we (hopefully) choose foods that give us energy -fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, etc. Remember the food pyramid? 
 
Emotional hunger is when we feel neutral or full, yet choose to eat for an emotional purpose. We eat out of habit in front of the television at night after dinner. We go to an Indians game with dollar dog night and bet our friend we can eat more than them. Your grandma insists you try her pie after you just ate an entire plate of dinner…or you may eat because you are bored, stressed, or simply out of habit. Your body doesn’t ‘need’ food at these times, but we choose to eat anyway out of entertainment or stress. 
 
Emotional hunger is usually paired with a mindless activity. Watching TV, playing cards, talking with friends, writing an email, checking Facebook, etc. During emotional eating, we do not stop and ‘check in’ with our bodies to see if we are full. As a result, we overeat or eat faster than we should. 
 
So what is mindful eating/mindfulness?
 
Mindfulness is a technique I teach my clients. The purpose is to help you slow down, feel better, and lose weight. Think of it as coming up for air as you are swimming. It is ‘checking in’ on your feelings and stomach as you are eating. 
 

Fundamentally, mindful eating involves:

  • Eating slowly and without distraction.
  • Listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full.
  • Distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.
  • Engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures and tastes.
  • Learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.
  • Eating to maintain overall health and well-being.
  • Noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure.
  • Appreciating your food.

These things allow you to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more conscious, healthier responses 

 

How to start today

1. Before eating take some deep breaths, ask yourself “how hungry am I right now?” and “why am I eating this?”
2. If you are truly not hungry, in what ways can you comfort yourself without food? Maybe you need a bath, hot tea, music, a workout, a hug, or you need to vent to a close friend/family to feel better. Find a healthy coping mechanism besides food. 
3. Choose one meal a day and eat for 20 minutes. Practice the habit of slowing down. 

Courtney Butterfield

Courtney's mission in life is to share her gifts with other people, and to show them how great they can be. She feels beyond blessed for the moments shared with her clients over the years, and realizing nutrition is only a part of their journey. The counseling Courtney shares encompasses cognitive behavior therapy- making sustainable positive lifestyle changes and eliminating ‘diet approach’ thinking to eating. Her heart is full when clients discover parts of themselves they didn’t know were there. Courtney's educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Akron, completion of the Coordinated Internship Program through Akron, Certified Sports Nutritionist, and Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise.

ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT TO YOUR HEALTH?

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