Mindful Eating = A Life of Pleasure without Punishment

Apr 27, 2017

~Panko encrusted King Salmon with French lentils, paired with a French viognier, find the recipe for both here~

As talked about at the beginning of the year, the focus of 2017 is how to welcome more quality into our everyday lives, thereby eliminating or reducing the habits that do not serve us well.

The past three months have been focused on reducing one food or food group that does not serve you well (January), letting go or limiting the use of a one social media app (February), and  letting go of the busy mentality (March). And now we are on to April. Yes, April is almost over, but nonetheless, I did not want to forget to talk about something that can truly enhance the quality of our everyday lives in an abundance of ways. From our mood, our energy levels, thereby feeding into our relationships, productivity and overall happiness (and don’t forget our longevity!), the reduction (and better yet, the elimination) of mindless eating is the focus of April. And while we do focus on one improvement to our lives each month, it is the hope that the habits will be formed after careful attention is paid so that the good habit continues throughout the year.

I chose April especially for the focus of eating well because as farm stands and farmers markets begin to open back up for the warmer months as fresh and local produce becomes available, the opportunity to eat well, eat food that satiates and satisfies at budget-friendly prices becomes more readily available.

I am impatiently waiting for Bend’s markets to open up which will not be until June, but even so, I know they will be opening soon and my tastebuds and excitement to enjoy the perusing, socializing and good food will be ready to partake.

What is mindless eating? I have a feeling many, if not all of us have deviated into the lane of mindless eating. This bad habit begins to take place when our schedules become excessively full, our body needs fuel and we reach for whatever is available or stop by the most convenient food shop (bakery, restaurant, take-out, grocery, etc.). Mindless eating can also occur out of an immediate need for comfort when life offers uncertainty. We reach for the extra slice of [name your vice] even when you are not hungry because you want to be present, you want to feel pleasure and you want to not worry if only for a moment. However, as we all know, that moment passes and then we feel and know immediately we’ve overate or ate something that we truly didn’t need and feel uncomfortable in our body and thus our clothing.

The quote is often shared “nothing feels as good as skinny feels”, and while I understand the sentiment, I want to amend it slightly. Feeling good goes much deeper than being skinny. I also, and I suppose you do as well, want to feel strong, energetic and my best self. I want my skin to glow, I want my inner-most person to shine through, and in order for this to occur regularly, eating well and thoughtfully is mandatory.

Bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s skin) has been talked about before on TSLL. And while all in total, feeling comfortable in one’s own skin is multi-faceted, a significant component is treating your body with respect which involves not only the physical activity and attention you give, as well as the pampering it deserves, but the food and nourishment it needs to perform at its best.

So let’s get into how to eat, as well as enjoy the food we choose to give our bodies, in such a way that is mindful:

1. Understand how to feed your body well

Be sure to click on the link above as I go into great detail about the science behind the food and why and what our bodies need. The simple understanding of the fact that our bodies do ask for what they need, we just need to become fluent in its language will revamp your entire approach to eating and improve the overall quality of your life.

2. Focus on eating when you choose to eat

Instead of nibbling on food (even if it’s healthy) while you type away at the computer or watch television, choose to mono-task rather than multi-task. For many of us, myself included, this is a hard habit to break, but if we examine more closely how much we tend to eat when we’re doing something else, we’ll find that we eat more than we need when we are focused on a second task.

3. Satiate and savor delicious food

“Fat gives things flavor.” —Julia Child

Food is meant to not only nourish, but satiate our bodies and tastebuds, and part of satiating is enjoying what we are eating and understanding and appreciating the flavors. The misconception of salt in the 80s and 90s led many people in America to forego the amplifying the flavor of delicious food as it was being cooked and eat bland, tasteless dishes, thereby encouraging them to seek out more food as they were not satisfied or were led to believe a particular dish (in this case a dish that was not seasoned properly) was tasteless.

Now this is not to say salt is the only way to flavor food, absolument pas! Herbs and spices and aromatics (garlic, shallots and onions) are also simple ways to maximize the flavor in a simple protein or vegetable based dish. Because when food tastes delicious, we need less as our appetites are satiated.

4. Learn and come to enjoy cooking at home

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” —Julia Child

I know not everyone will want to adapt this suggestion, but cooking can be simple, and for me it is truly a pleasure. I continue to learn how to create this and craft that, but here are two resources to get your started – this post (scroll to #3) includes a list of basic techniques as well as basic supplies; and this post lists the basic items to have on hand in your kitchen so you can make simple and flavorful meals any day of the week.

With these four simple approaches to eating mindfully, your mind will become more alert, your waistline more trim, your energy level will soar (pair it with a luxurious, deep night’s sleep), and you will heighten the overall quality in your everyday life. Why? Because you will be stepping into the best version of yourself, you will begin to feel more fully yourself and not be plagued by a bloated stomach, unnecessary headaches, dry skin, and the list goes on. Most of the seemingly small but irritating and frustrating health and beauty alignments can be eliminated (not all, and for those, certainly a medical opinion and advice should be sought) by simply tending to what and how we eat.

Much like investing in our 401K, the renovations to our home, or the career path we are working on, one of the most profound and life-changing investments we can make without oodles of money is the investment in our health which begins with how we feed and nourish our bodies.

And the beauty of feeding our bodies well is that we need not deprive ourselves. Enjoy that slice of apple pie with locally made salted vanilla gelato, but then find the balance throughout the rest of the day. Quality over quantity in all arenas and in this case in the food arena will certainly be a worthwhile life pursuit you won’t regret.

Stop by next month (which isn’t far away!) when we dive into mastering our use of credit. And to see the entire year’s list of what will be each month’s focus, take a look here.

~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHVIES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Why Not . . . Eat in Courses?

~15 Things to Do to Not “Feel Fat”

~Love Food, Love Your Body – 10 Simple Tips (podcast episode)

~A Capsule Menu: What It Is and How to Create Your Own

~View all of the Health and Food posts from TSLL Archives here.



2 thoughts on “Mindful Eating = A Life of Pleasure without Punishment

  1. This is another lovely post; I have been thinking of the out-of-doors market that this town holds yearly; I don’t or have not, ever, frequented; yet this year, I am hoping to give them a try if I have some cash on me for this. Cash is an out-of-reach commodity for this household since we owe so much and exist on one income; not mine. I am the dead-beat and non-bread-winner. No matter, the market is something to look forward to is all. Thank you for sharing.

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