Do you often feel like you can’t control how much you eat at dinner table? Or realise you’re full only when you feel as heavy as Santa’s sack (and can’t fit any more food)?
We show you how to easily master techniques of mindful eating that will help you:
- Stop overeating and lose weight
- Improve digestion
- Increase your absorption of nutrients
- Change your relationship with food
…And all of that without changing what you eat!
Overeating – The Result of Your ‘Busy Mind’
In the modern world so many of us are losing connection and awareness of the world around us. Instead of enjoying and celebrating food eating has become a physical function for us designed to get us through the day.
How many of us are fully present while having a meal and NOT scrolling through the Instagram feed, watching the news (stressful!) or simultaneously having an argument with our partner?
We’ve developed habits like eating on the run, so food hangs around in our systems fermenting, producing toxins, causing diarrhoea or constipation.
Turn Off The “Fight Or Flight”
When we’re mentally or emotionally stressed over a long periods of time - think daily commute, work tensions, studying for an exam or pre-festive rush – we’re continuously in a “fight or flight” mode. This is the response of our sympathetic nervous system.
The immediate “fight and flight” response is to shut down your appetite. However, as stress persists it becomes a different story.
As a result of continuous stress we turn to binging on food as an emotional relief (“I SO need this right now!”). That is because stress causes the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol, which increases appetite and motivation to (over)eat! Stress also impairs your digestion leading to food not being absorbed property.
The solution is to switch off the “flight or flight” mode and tap into the opposing side – the “rest and digest” (called parasympathetic nervous system).
Activate The “Rest & Digest”
Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxed, effective digestion, as well as balanced hormone production, repair and regeneration. By enabling it to work optimally, you’ll be able to:
- regain control of what and how you eat
- absorb more nutrients
- counteract stress
- feel light and fantastic
Here’s how you can activate the rest & digest side of your nervous system:
Take Time Out To Enjoy Food
This means leaving your desk, setting your phone on “Airplane Mode”, putting aside anything else that may be distracting, and settling down to eat.
Take a few deep breaths to relax, see and smell what you’re about to eat.
Focus On Chewing Your Food
Your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Chew your food properly to break it down as much as possible. This also stimulates the release of digestive juices for effective and comfortable digestion.
Aim for at least 20 chews per mouthful.
"Chew your food for at least 20 times per mouthful! It helps digestion and prevents overeating."
Don’t Wait Until You’re Starving To Eat
Frantic eating means you may choose unhealthier options, you won’t remember to chew properly and the food will end up staying in your stomach and gut for far too long.
This causes symptoms like bloating, pain and upset tummy.
Think Before You Snack
If you're bored or need a distraction, don't just grab the first snack within arms' reach, go for something that will do your health a favour! Our top options:
Make a batch of Spirulina Superbites and keep them ready at home or work – Spirulina satisfies the appetite and prevents overeating.
Wheatgrass Latte – one of our favourite drinks to nourish and curb cravings. Mix 1 tsp wheatgrass in a cup of unsweetened nut milk.
A cup of herbal tea or warm water and lemon juice.
Put Down Your Knife And Fork Between Mouthfuls
Pausing between mouthfuls and making sure the previous one is swallowed before loading up your next forkful is a great way to slow down your meal. This allows you to recognise the sensation of fullness and stop before you get uncomfortable.
Eat With A Teaspoon Or Chopsticks To Slow You Down
A few years ago there was an extremely popular diet that involved eating with chopsticks, this isn’t sustainable for everyone, but adopting it for a week could help you to form new slow eating habits!
The system of Mayr Clinics in Austria that focuses on weight loss through resting the digestive tract gives their patients small portions of food to be eaten with teaspoons.
"To prevent overeating and feel fuller quickly try eating with a small spoon or chopsticks."
Stop Eating Before You Feel Full
There’s no need to push yourself to finish your plateful just because it’s in front of you. Mindful eating is about being in tune with your body’s needs.
To avoid wasting food be more conscious of how much you serve yourself. Remember you can always keep most leftovers in the fridge or if you’re out, just ask for the leftovers to be wrapped up.
TIP: Have 1tsp of Organic Burst Spirulina is a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon 30min-1 hour before meals to help you feel fuller and prevent overeating.
Never Exercise On a Full Stomach
Exercise literally switches off your digestive capabilities by activating your ‘fight or flight’ nervous system. You can’t ask your body to give all its energy to a workout, but simultaneously expect some energy to be diverted to the digestive system.
We want to hear from you! Do you have any issues with overeating when you’re stressed? Which tactics have worked for you?