Mindfulness: The Two Questions to Ask Yourself When Making Your Food Choices
Making healthy food choices can be our biggest struggle in maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. Ever heard “abs are made in the kitchen”? Our food choices make a huge impact on our overall health, especially if you have a few pounds to lose.
According to Dictionary.com, mindful means attentive, aware, or careful while mindless means without intelligence or senseless.
I can come up with times that I have been mindful with my food choices…very aware and careful about what I put into my body. But I can also come up with too many times when I’ve been mindless with those choices and have been very senseless around food. You too?
Staying mindful around food seems like a common struggle among busy women and moms. We’re always running around, taking care of family and kids and responsibilities, and it’s so easy to grab ‘n go. Or we run ourselves ragged, deny cues that we need to stop and eat something until it’s too late and the hunger takes over. And then, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I lose my mind and just start grabbing whatever I see.
I know what you’re probably thinking. If you keep healthy things in the house, then you won’t have these times of mindlessness and eat a bunch of junk. My response to this is that I’m a mom. I have a husband and growing boy who likes to have a dessert after dinner, pretzels, nuts, cereal, etc. Those things aren’t so bad in the big scheme, but when I lose my mind due to busyness, fatigue, PMS (am I speaking to anyone???), then those things spell trouble for me!
I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. Times when I’ve had it, when I’m simply over it. I have no willpower or self-control left. My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too! So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.
When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness. We have energy. We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.
When we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experience the signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action. We’ll call that the EAT strategy.
So when you need to make a food choice, because you’re hungry or you’re in a social setting or it’s mealtime (the experience), consider these 2 questions (assess):
How will I feel about this choice tomorrow morning?
Is this beneficial?
Lysa TerKeurst in Made to Crave (affiliate link) poses the question: When I am considering a compromise, I will think past this moment and ask myself, “How will I feel about this choice tomorrow morning?”
Will you get up in the morning dragging or feeling bloated due to a heavy meal or late night snack? How will your energy level be in the morning? Will you get up and begin beating yourself up for choices made the night before?
Is this beneficial? 1 Corinthians 10:23 tells us that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. I firmly believe that unless you have a food allergy, that you can eat whatever you want. However, not all food provides us with energy and nutrition that we need. Some of it is as simple as knowing that a bunch of sugary food and drink is not good for us. Studies show it. On the other hand, whole wheat bread is fine. Nuts and seeds are a healthy snack. Yet, those things tend to make my stomach feel a little bloated.
Sometimes I struggle to stop with one serving, so eating those things is not necessarily beneficial for me. We have to become a detective of our own body to know what kills our cravings or gives us energy in the afternoon when we are starting to drag. We also need to become aware of the things that negatively affect us or those things over which we feel we have little self-control.
Going through the EAT process and asking the questions will take practice but eventually it will become part of your process when making food choices. Begin the practice today!
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