woman in purple eating

47. Mindful Eating and Listening to Nourish Your Body

Mindful Actions
Mindful Actions
47. Mindful Eating and Listening to Nourish Your Body
Mindful Actions
Mindful Actions
47. Mindful Eating and Listening to Nourish Your Body

Explore the concept of mindful eating from an exciting different perspective than the typical “pay attention to what you’re eating” mantra. I had a lot of fun chatting this week about how your food choices can vary from day to day, and how it can lead to a more positive relationship with food. We also dive deep into tuning into our bodies and working towards listening to the signals instead of letting our minds control our eating habits. We’ll discuss the terminology differences between food choices and balanced diets, and how to break down old food barriers. Our meditation this week will focus on incorporating mindfulness into listening to our body queues. Join me as we experience the world of mindful eating and learn how to make the most of every bite.

Weekly Mindful Action: Listen to your body and look out for unwritten “rules” you may be following when you eat.

*Note: The meditation portion of this episode will be best experienced while wearing headphones. The music accompanying the meditation this week will create an incredible atmosphere for tuning in to your body. Notice the beat of the drums when you’re listening to your heart, and the eerie space when tuning into your mind. I’m confident it will create a whole new level of meditation for you. Enjoy!

Find me on social media for daily mindfulness tips and activities.

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Let’s start off with a simple question. What did you eat yesterday? Go ahead and mentally make your list. What did you eat yesterday?

Alright. Now, think about how satisfied you felt with your food choices from yesterday. I don’t mean only thinking about satisfaction based on level of fullness, I mean it on a holistic level. How did your mind, body, and taste buds feel after eating?

Did you enjoy what you ate? Did you give yourself choices, or did you just eat what was basically on-hand? We are going to chat today about how the world around us impacts the food we eat, and our eating habits. Buckle up for this mindfulness ride.


Here’s what I had yesterday. I started off with a glass of water as soon as I woke up, followed by avocado toast and some leftover apple slices from packing my kids’ lunches. Then I got some coffee on my way in to work. Then I ordered a FABULOUS teriyaki Hawaiian quinoa bowl as takeout for lunch, then a friend offered me a chocolate brownie made with coconut milk on my way out of the office that was to-die-for, and then for dinner, my husband wasn’t home so instead of making a mess in the kitchen with cooking, the kids and I just reheated some seasoned rice, spinach, and black beans. Simple, yet yummy. My absolute favorite go-to meal when I don’t want to cook is rice and veggies.

Let me tell you, that was a very satisfying food day for me. I felt good. Everything tasted good. And I felt satisfied on multiple levels. Not all days are that good, but I’m trying to create a more welcoming mindset around food to make this happen more often than not, and it seems to be working….thanks to the intuitive eating habits of my 5 year old. Yes, I am taking advice from my preschooler.
What got me here was that for a while recently, I’d been struggling big time with my daughters eating habits. To be completely honest, she east a good balance of food so I’m not frustrated nutrition-wise. What I am frustrated with is inflation and food waste. For my kids’ daycare, we’re required to pack a grain, fruit, veggie, and protein for morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack each. It’s A LOT of food, for tiny little bellies, and when you’re trying to eat fresh foods instead of pre-packaged foods, most of that is perishable and not individually wrapped So it can’t be saved.

So what kept happening was that I would unpack my daughters lunch box at the end of the day sometimes like 60% of her food would still be there. One day, I will never forget this day, I literally cried in the kitchen as I threw away handfuls of slimy smushed strawberries, raspberries, and warm yogurt. Have you seen the price of strawberries? All of that food going to waste. And berries are her favorite food! So I didn’t know what was going on. My mind, and my bank account could not handle it. I couldn’t fathom continuing to waste all of this food.

So, naturally, I did what most parents do when they’re emotional, and I got mad at her. I scolded her for not eating her food and how much expensive food she was wasting. And, very innocently, she just looked at me and said, “well, mom. Today wasn’t a starving day”. She said that so matter of fact, and I looked at her, and was just like what? What do you mean? And she said, some days are starving days and you don’t pack me enough food, and some days aren’t starving days so I don’t need as much food.

And after she said that I kinda just stood there for a moment letting that all sink in. And then she continued with “mom, remember? You told me that food gives us energy! Well on the days I’m running around a lot at school I need more food. But on the rainy days when we’re inside, I don’t need as much food”.

Oh. My. Gosh. I am still shook from my 5yo dropping this knowledge on me, and I think about it regularly. This is just another reminder about how EVERYTHING in life is connected. This is where mindfulness and living in the present moment breaks old habits, and breaks harmful patterns, and allows us to live differently and it can completely change our lives. If you just open your eyes and live in the present moment observing the things around you, you can learn so, so much. Ah, I’m getting emotional here talking about this now.

I mean, my daughter, who is 5 years old, observed that the weather tends to affect how hungry she is from day to day. How mind blowing is that?!?!? When was the last time you really stopped to think about how external factors affect you and your eating habits? When was the last time you stopped eating on autopilot and really, really listened to your body?

And, uh, I know what so many of us are thinking right now. As adults, we think we know all of this already! We roll our eyes at someone tellings us to listen to our bodies, and that your body will tell you what you should eat, and yadda yadda yadda. We KNOW what we’re supposed to do, but do we actually listen to it in the way it’s intended?

The problem is that we have so many nutritional facts and diet culture crammed into our brains that we often think we’re listening to our bodies when really our brain is still the driving factor in our eating habits. Say you’re starving so we want to eat that peanutbutter bread, a nice heavy protein and carb, but our brain is still like hmmmm reeeeeally? Are you sure about that? So then we second guess our bodies and go eat something else but then aren’t feeling satisfied with our food choice. So our body didn’t really win that argument in the end. Did it? Your brain still took over.

Now, before I talk any further on this, I do want to add in here a disclaimer that I am not, nor have I ever been a nutritionist, dietician, or licensed medical practitioner. So the discussion today is solely based off my own experiences with myself and my family, and are not meant to treat any medical conditions. Please consult with your doctor prior to making any dietary changes.

Now that I set that straight, let’s go back to a term I used in the beginning. Food choices. This is a term I use when wen I am getting to know a new client in my Mindfulness Success Studio, one of the questions I ask them is how satisfied have they been with their food choices lately. This gives me an idea about what your mindset is like surrounding food, and confidence and trust you have in yourself.

I frame it this way because every body is different. Everybody, and every body is different. We have different nutritional needs that need to be met, and we have different triggers, cravings, and mindsets surrounding food. So I never want to ask them “do you feel like you have a balanced diet, or do feel like you’re eating well”, because as soon as we use those terms, we immediately start to think more on the level of nutrition and calories, and restrictions, and good or bad food. If we simply say, how have you felt about your food choices it’s giving you the freedom to be more open minded about it, and not attaching labels to your eating habits.

So now, I encourage you to think more along the lines of how your mind and your body feel before, during, and after eating food. You can be more mindful of the types of things tend to set you up for a starving day vs a not starving day, like my daughter would say. And how do you adapt to those different feelings.

If you’re a long time listener, you know what’s coming next. It’s your mindful action. This week, we are going to focus on our food choices, and the factors that influence them. Why do I want this food, why did I pick this food, how did I feel after I ate that food. Simply pay attention to what, and how, you’re eating this week.

For me, the biggest takeaway from what my daughter said is that it’s totally fine for meals not to look the same every day. It’s totally fine to eat more one day and eat less the next day. One thing that has always been engrained in my head, I have no rhyme or reason behind it, is that for lunch and dinner I always wanted 3 things on my plate. If there were less than 3 things, I felt like something was missing, and I would be left wanting more. But now, that’s not a factor for me any more. Mindful eating has helped me let go of some of those unwritten rules I was following. And I want you to use your mindful action this week to help you identify some of those eating patterns you’ve unnecessarily been following.

Now, before we had into our meditation, some of you may be wondering how I solved the problem of food waste with my kids. It’s not entirely solved, but it’s better. Now she helps me pack her lunch. She picks out her foods, and she knows the daycare rules, and she chooses her own serving sizes. I am no longer assuming how much, and what, I think she’s going to eat. And we do talk about the day when we’re doing this. So I say oh, it’s going to be pretty cold today, and did your teachers say what you might be doing, so that she’s thinking about her day and how it might affect her hunger level. It doesn’t always result in no wasted food, but, like I said, it’s getting better.

That’s all I can ask for. We don’t need to perfect changes immediately. Give it time and let them grow with you.

We have so much to learn from kids. They LISTEN to their bodies and they let their emotions flow and tell us what’s on their minds! They are just out there living, and loving life, and I have mad respect for that.

So now, as adults, it’s our turn, to look inward and listen to what’s going on inside of our bodies. Let’s go meditate.

Your body is your home. It is wise, it is intelligent, it is intuitive. It’s cadence of the beat of your heart is unique to you. Learning to listen to you body can lead you to amazing things in life.

Tune in to your body now. Feel the rise and fall of each breath.

Tune in. Notice how your head feels today.

Notice how your breath feels today.

Notice how your heart is pumping today.

Notice how your stomach and your digestive system feels today.

Notice, breathe, and tune in. The rise and fall of the breath.

Ask your body what it needs today. What it needs to feel its best.

Notice, breathe, and tune in. The rise and fall of the breath.

If thoughts start to swirl around in your head distracting you, just take note of them and then bring your attention back to the breath and the body.

I am whole. I am healthy. My body protects me. I feel comfortable in my body. I trust my body. I am enough just the way I am. I am strong. I am worthy. I am safe. I am free.

I am whole. I am healthy. My body protects me. I feel comfortable in my body. I trust my body. I am enough just the way I am. I am strong. I am worthy. I am safe. I am free.

Sending many thanks to your mind, body, and soul today for joining me in this meditation. I’m looking forward to this week for us all to allow our bodies to drive our intentions rather than our minds.

Peace, love, and öm. Namaste.
Episode 47 Mindful Eating And Listening To Our Bodies | Mindful Actions Podcast | bethbackes.com

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