Mindful eating, the practice of being fully aware and in the moment when we consume our meals, is increasingly popular for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. It can work for people with diabetes too, whether your goal is to shed a few pounds or simply to eat more healthily to help your diabetes care progress well. Here are a few facts about mindful eating - and tips on how to do it yourself.
Why are you eating?
This may seem like a simple question to answer, but if you eat unmindfully, it may not be. Often, we decide to have a snack or a treat because we're bored, lonely, frustrated or simply catching up on our favorite TV series. To begin eating mindfully, you don't need to change how you eat - but you should start asking yourself why you're eating. If you notice certain situations, like a fight with your spouse or a hard day at work, propel you into overeating or making unhealthy choices, simply accept this information. As you become more and more mindful of your food and eating choices, you can intervene before you reach for the ice cream by realizing what's really going on for you emotionally and how you could better care for yourself. Though it sounds simple, this technique may be incredibly helpful in getting you started on a healthier diet.
What are you eating?
How many times have you eaten a meal or snack without really paying attention to it? Could you recall immediately what you had for lunch yesterday if you had to? Most of us eat mindlessly most of the time. One of the tenets of mindful eating is staying present throughout each meal or snack we consume. This means turning off the TV and putting down your phone to really experience what it feels like to eat a particular food. Ideally, as you progress, this mindfulness will begin with your food choices. Knowing what you are putting in your body, how it feels to eat it and how it makes you feel afterward is extremely valuable. It's hard to justify another cookie when you realize how full you feel afterward or how it makes you feel a little sick.
Your particular diabetes care plan, and the diabetic diet that goes along with it, should underlie all of your explorations of mindful eating to help you get and stay as healthy as possible.