Mindful eating aka selfcare is so vital to maintaining a calm, clear and balanced mind!
You'd think I'd have this totally down pat, considering I'm a naturopath, nutritionist and health coach. Nope. I still need to remind myself on a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis to take time out for myself. I know how much I NEED it, to refill my cup, recharge and rejuvenate.
Having regular self-care practices makes me a better human. I can then give more - to my clients, my children and my poor neglected husband! So what's the simplest way to get some more self-care into your working day? I believe that it's this: Take time out to stop and enjoy a meal.
Make it a self-care ritual to have a lunch break! How often do we work through a lunch break, scoffing a sandwich at our desks or on the run between meetings? If we can't find the time to take a break to enjoy a meal, we need to seriously question our priorities!
Giving yourself the beautiful gift of 20-30 minutes to eat a nourishing meal is, in my opinion, the ultimate way to care for yourself.
Here are my tips on how to transform your lunch break into the ultimate self-care ritual:
Choose a nutrient-dense meal that you love to eat
Pick something that you find delicious, that's also packed full of nutrition so you can truly care for your body. Think more lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of veggies as opposed to something fried or heavy on the carbs.
Eat when you are calm
Your body digests food best when the nervous system is in ‘rest and digest’ mode. This is when blood flow is going to the digestive tract, the mind is at peace, your heart rate is calm and you are focusing on your food. So try some deep, slow breathing or a walk in nature to de-stress before you eat.
When you are eating, just eat
Don’t work on your computer, watch TV or drive when you are eating. Give yourself the permission to stop and focus on your nutritious meal.
Mindful eating is all about slow, conscious eating. It's chewing each mouthful 30 times. Try putting down your fork between bites as you take the time to really connect with your food. Focus on using all of your senses to consume the food - sight, taste, sound and smell.
Explore your food's texture in your mouth as you move it around with your tongue. Feel it crush between your teeth and explode against the roof of your mouth. Sexy, huh?
Stop before you are full
Eating too much in one sitting puts a huge strain on your digestive system. There’s not enough stomach acid to break down your food, your stomach gets stretched and can’t work effectively and you’re more likely to suffer indigestion and bloating.
Plus, on a metaphysical level, overeating is kinda saying to yourself and the universe, 'I don't have enough' or 'I am never satisfied' - not really going to bring you the best in life. The Japanese have a beautiful way of saying this. They say, “hara hachi bu” which translates to, “eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full”.
And so on that note, here's to making your lunch break zen!
About the author:
Hayley is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist and Health Coach, on a mission to help modern women feel better! She has extensive experience working in women’s health, from professional women grappling with stress and anxiety to overwhelmed mums struggling with postnatal depletion, to women going through menopause and beyond.
Hayley also has a special interest in hormonal health, natural fertility & preconception care, adrenal fatigue, gut health and weight loss. She practices from her Naturopathy Clinic in Newcastle, NSW and also offers online programs and 1:1 Weight Loss Coaching.
In fact, her signature weight loss program is highly effective as it combines her nutrition & naturopathy skills with her training in Eating Psychology – meaning you shift your mindset and never have to ‘diet’ again! You can find out more about Hayley here.