Yoga for Mindful Eating: 12 Tips for Practicing Presence While You Eat

The holidays are often a time of excess for everyone. Come January, it’s little surprise that most New Year’s resolutions have something to do with dieting or losing weight.

However, instead of fat-shaming yourself, why not use the holidays to practice yoga for mindful eating?  In the process, you might also learn some valuable things about yourself and your body. Here are 12 Tips for Mindful Eating that will enable you to have your cake and enjoy it, too!

1. Make a New Friend

It’s easy to lose touch with the body’s natural signals of satiety. This season, try to pay attention to your body and watch its reactions. Be mindful of the experience of eating and the effects you feel afterward. Observe how the body tells you what it needs—and what it doesn’t need. Also, notice how and when your mind overrules the body.

2. Be Mindful of How Other Factors Affect Your Relationship to Food

This includes how much sleep you get, your stress level, your mood, and lack of exercise. It also affects your eating habits, making you more likely to overeat.

3. Don’t Judge Yourself, and Don’t Try to Force Change

Concept of yoga and mindfulness as a healthy part of creating healthy relationships during menopause.

As you establish greater awareness of your digestive processes and the body’s signals, you will gradually strengthen its self-regulating mechanisms. Over the long term, this will help you develop more mindful eating habits more than anything else.

4. Play with Your Food

Yes, I know what Mama told you, but we’re not talking about turning mashed potatoes into mountains. Finding ways to play with your food can help you restructure mindless eating habits. For starters, try these exercises:

5. Divide Fractions

To avoid overeating at holiday meals, experiment with taking smaller and smaller bites of what’s on your plate. Sink your teeth into the first couple of bites, and then take increasingly smaller pieces. Give each morsel your full attention; explore ways to savor each bite as much as you would a full mouthful.

6. Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Don’t deny yourself that extra serving of pie. Instead, take half as much as you normally would and focus on enjoying it twice as much. Relish the taste; savor the ecstasy of the flavors unfolding in your mouth.

7. Wheel & Deal

Make trade-offs. If you eat too much at one meal, eat less at the next or cut out something else you would normally consume.

8. Try Tricks for Treats

Pretty smiling girl with pink hair in hoodie comparing between fresh green apple and sweet cupcake - mindful eating concept

If cravings are an issue for you, explore constructive ways to channel them. Eat healthy, low-calorie snacks: an apple, a handful of raw carrots with raisins, or a couple of graham crackers are delicious snacks that will nourish your body instead of leaving you feeling overfilled and bloated.

9. Reconnect with Your Sense of Satiety

If we habitually overeat or eat between meals, we lose touch with the body’s in-built signals of when we are full and when we are hungry. To restore it, follow these simple steps: Try not to eat between meals—it disturbs your digestion and messes up the body’s appetite-regulating mechanisms. If you have to, indulge in healthy, easy-to-digest snacks like the ones listed above. Secondly, eat a balanced diet that includes fat so you don’t end up starving between meals.

10. Stay Close to Earth

healthy food choices

The closer your food is to the earth, the more nutritious, energizing, and nourishing it is. Favor whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are the most beneficial not only for regulating weight, but also for enhancing your overall health and wellness. Experiment with adding more and more whole foods to your diet.

11. Bring Lots of Band-Aids

Like in your yoga practice, adapting more mindful eating habits is a process to be approached with an attitude of curiosity and adventure. Bring lots of band-aids for the trip! Inevitably, you will fall short, but each time, simply get right back at it.

12. Be Patient

Lasting change grows from the inside out, gradually. Avoid setting yourself up for the impossible; set realistic and sustainable goals. Attempts at change made with awareness, self-compassion, and patience will help you develop more mindful eating habits over time

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