Mindful Eating- 3 Ways to Eat for Your Workout Success
Eating is just a necessity right? Well actually no. Eating has many healing, strengthening and healthy benefits that when done right and intentionally, power you through not only your daily routine but also your workout.
But let’s focus on mindful eating. Mindful eating involves paying attention to food in a purposeful manner. It’s an approach focusing on a sensual awareness of what goes into your body. Instead of just eating until the bag is empty or until your plate is clean, you eat as a response to your body’s cues. Mindful eating helps you think about when you’re actually full and the experience of eating. You’re not counting calories, fats or carbs. You’re making clean eating choices and then listening to your body- focusing on what’s best nutritionally. Mindful eating isn’t about losing weight (although that is a benefit), it’s about being present in the moment and experience.
Let’s take a look at three ways mindful eating benefits your body and how it can up your workout success. Time to dive in.
Mindful Eating IS NOT a Diet
What mindful eating is not, is a diet. And for many, that’s the best perk. Diets tend to restrict eating by counting calories and are hard to follow long term leading to a tendency to overindulge or fall off track. The purpose of mindful eating is to steer away from the rules of dieting and create a lifestyle of eating that fuels your body giving you energy and strength, without restrictions. Instead of restricting yourself you enjoy the process of eating. You eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
With mindful eating, you establish a relationship with food, focus on slowing down and learn to savor every bite. Mindful eating teaches you to take your time while eating and think about the food going into your body.
Nutrition is not about counting calories, limiting certain food groups or skipping meals. It’s the complete opposite. It’s about understanding what your body needs to function at its best, making the effort to plan meals and enjoying what you’ve created.
So let’s do a little mindful practice right now. Ask yourself a very basic question. How many times have you thrown food down knowing you’ve got to head out the door- fast? Reflect on that. This happens all too often. We’ve all been guilty of making those choices. It’s easy and we know how it works- late games, kids activities and meetings. There’s no time to sit down and make a balanced meal. But we should really think again because even though there's a ton to do, nutrition shouldn’t be put on the back burner. Deciding to grab something quick, leads to a path of unhealthy eating habits that are more detrimental than good.
Make the effort to nourish. Decide to think mindfully about your choices. Start being more mindful today. Think intently about your food, plan ahead, be present in the moment and train your body to be a little more focused. You can do it.
1. Sit Down and Slow Down
This may sound very elementary when it comes to advice but hey, don’t mess with a good thing. The rule taught to us by our grandparents is actually quite accurate. Sitting down to a meal, and yes I mean a well balanced, clean eating meal, has incredible benefits. First of all, it gives your body time to digest so we don’t feel “stuffed.” These two aspects of mindful eating also encourage you to make choices that not only satisfy your palate but also nourish your body. You’ll feel satisfied, healthier, stronger and will appreciate the goodness that fills your plate.
When you sit down to a meal make sure you also cut the distractions around you. Turn off the tv, make sure your cell phone is silenced and focus on being present. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and make sure to slow down. Eating too fast is something many of us are guilty of doing. We’re trying to move onto the next thing, thinking two steps ahead but this is when we harm our digestive system. Eating too quickly means you could be overeating, and not giving yourself time to process what you’ve just put into your body. Your stomach (much like you) needs a break. Give it time to digest, savor your food bite by bite, slow it down and just be. Remember your goal is to create a healthy lifestyle, not one that’s rushed or hectic- eating included.
2. Simplify Your Eating
Another part of mindful eating is simplifying. Simple doesn't have to be boring. All it means is choosing wholesome, healthy and nutritious foods. Foods that fuel your body and feed your muscles. Focus on whole grains, legumes, beans, fresh fruit and vegetables and lean protein.
Simplifying also means planning ahead and using ingredients you have on hand.You can do this easily with meal planning, yet another essential part of mindful eating. Meal planning helps you stick to a healthy eating plan, providing energy and stamina! Just what you need to master your workouts and gain ultimate results in the gym. So fuel up!
Another quick tip for simplified eating, is cleaning up after you’re done preparing your meal. Putting away your food and making sure you don’t have the itch to pick eliminates the tendency. To overindulge. So when you’re dishing up dinner, pop leftovers right in the fridge, seal up those containers and clean your dishes. This way you’re less likely to “eat” just to “eat.”
3. Know Your Portions
Knowing how much to eat is essential not only for mindful habits, but also your own good. But again we’re not talking about restrictions, just being knowledgeable about your daily intake and what amounts help you reach your goals.
Some ways to help with portion size-
- Check labels
- Use a measuring cup when serving
- Know your daily calorie count
Eating the right amount of food is important because it ensures you’re getting nutrients your body needs. If this sounds overwhelming or you’re just not sure where to start, don’t worry!
Programs like CrossFit Threeold’s Nutrition Program are designed specifically to meet your nutritional needs. It’s a beautiful thing. When meeting with your nutritional coach, you’ll determine your fitness goals and create a customized plan tailored for you. No more guesswork or stress, it’s really that easy. Just schedule a session and start a routine.
Mindful eating doesn’t have to mean a ton of work, it just means thinking about and being aware of what you put into your body. That way you’re guaranteed to see results faster.
Give it a Try
So give yourself a week. Before you jump in with both feet, take some time to observe your habits. Do you mindlessly shovel food while watching tv or maybe while you’re working? Are you rushing around without giving yourself the proper chance to digest or do you find yourself snacking just because it’s 3:00 and you’re in a slump?
Regardless, it’s a great time to reflect. And if you are in that 3:00 slump we’ve got a solution for that and it’s not mindless snacking. Just check out CrossFit Threefold’s schedule and find a workout class that’ll energize your body and reset your mind.
But anyway, back to mindfulness. Once you identify your eating habits, focus on making little changes. Sit down to dinner, slow down your eating. Think of eating as an experience and actually enjoy it! But don’t forget to watch those portions.
Treat your body like a temple. Honor it and care for it. Strong, healthy, and happy- that’s what you're designed to be. So give it your all and make lifestyle choices that’ll set you up for a pathway of optimal health! Mindful, powerful, successful.