Mindful eating is about being aware of what we are eating in the moment. This article isn't about that. This is about process to become mindful of what we eat so that we can more easily plan, prepare and execute optimal eating for our individual needs and goals. This 4-step, week long process is a way of checking in on ourselves and our nutrition.
Step 1: Take Note
Take one day to note, photograph or log what you eat. Do this with a spirit of curiosity not judgement.
Step 2: Gap Analysis
The next day, step back and review your eating from the big picture. Ask yourself "Am I eating in a way that best serves me and my goals?" The gap = the difference between where you are today and where you want to be. Understanding the gap is one concrete way to move us from wishing something was different to doing something to make it different.
Ok, it is really important to not boil the ocean here. Pick 1, maybe 2 areas of focus. I prefer to keep things simple and look at fiber, color (aka fruits and veggies), protein or fat because those are tied to disease prevention, gut health and muscle growth and that is what best serves me today. Your choices may be different if you are managing a chronic illness, wanting to sleep better, working through menopause etc.. The point is that it is actually important to you versus being something "the world" thinks you should do.
This step is some work and that is another reason to stay focused, to be reasonable about your own time and energy. You may need to Google "how much fiber is in a cup of spinach". If you use an App, it can save time. Add up the amount (grams, cups etc.) you ate and compare that to what you want to eat. That's your gap. Let's use fiber for our example. 25g of fiber per day is recommended for women. I add up my meals and I ate 18. (Patting myself on the back, I ate 72% of the recommended amount!) My gap is about 7 grams of fiber.
Step 3: Add, Change or Delete
On day 3, look back at the first day and ask what might you might add, change or delete to close the gap. Maybe it's swapping brown rice for your regular white rice. Maybe you rock breakfast and dinner but lunch is an opportunity. Identify specific opportunities and foods to close the gap.
Step 4: Take Action
Hope is not a strategy when it comes to healthy eating. For almost every one of us, there are 3 things that must happen if we want to close the gap. On days 4-7 we need to execute these actions: have a plan of what we'll eat; make a grocery list; and go shopping or order online. We are human, we like to conserve energy and will choose convenience and speed first, so having the food where we eat and when we eat is essential.
If you want some help getting started or are not sure where to focus, please feel free to schedule a time to chat about your goals. If you'd like to receive my mindful eating checklists for fiber, color, protein and fat, hit me up on my contact form and put "mindful" in the subject box.
Take care my friends!
"Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experiences."