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Mindfulness & nutrition - part 2 - how does it work?

5/8/2019 by Miriam Stangs

Mindfulness & nutrition - part 2 - how does it work?

It’s great that you’re willing to explore mindfulness in your nutrition. You probably have questions. How does mindfulness in nutrition work? How do I get started? Don't worry, that's what this article is for.

My last article described many advantages you gain being more mindful about diet and nutrition, and in this article, we’ll share some simple exercises to help you get started. Of course, a few quick sentences in a blog post don’t do justice to the world of mindful eating that you’re dipping your toes in. It’s an ongoing practice, as mentioned in the first article, and I encourage you to keep learning.

Three helpful steps to get started

  1. Pay attention to your senses! Use your tongue to feel the texture, the temperature, and the smell of the food. How does it really taste? Is it something you really want to have? Does it satisfy your taste buds?
  2. Notice habits and triggers. Are there times or activities that are automatic triggers for food? Things that make you think of food without even being hungry.
  3. Identify trivial food traps. Are there places that are more dangerous to you? Does a hard day, stress, or boredom lead to cravings, regardless of whether you’re actually hungry?

Become a knowledgeable connoisseur of everything that drives you to eat. If you’re not hungry, ask yourself: What am I feeling? Am I physically hungry or emotionally hungry? Or is it something else?

Other little tips for everyday life:

  • Only eat while sitting down (preferably at a table)
  • Turn off the TV while eating
  • Leave your smartphone in your pocket or tablet put away
  • Consciously chewing = longer chewing

Alien meets raisin

Here is a little imaginative exercise called "Alien meets raisin", which I learned at a seminar. You need something small like a walnut, almond, or, you guessed it, a raisin. Ok, this may sound a bit strange, but give it a try. Ready?

Imagine landing on a strange planet. Your spaceship is broken and you’re trying to find some food. Now you’ve found an object and need to use your senses to figure out if you can actually eat it! What does the object look like? What colors do you recognize when in your hand and what is the texture? How does it feel? If you smell it, what do you perceive? Do you associate any memories with that smell? Does it make sounds when you move it around your ear? If you decide to try the object, hold it to your lips without putting it in your mouth. How does it feel on the lips? And if you decide to put the object in your mouth, do not chew it, but first, perceive the nuances of taste. How does it feel in your mouth? After some time, if you decide to chew the object, what changes in taste and what does it remind you of? Carefully continue to chew and see if anything changes in the taste? When you finally decide to swallow the object, realize how far you can track it and when you no longer feel it. What do you feel then? Is there an after taste? Is it pleasant or unpleasant? Perhaps the object reminds you of your home planet and you can appreciate what was needed until you could get it here.

The realistic goal is to realize little mindful moments in everyday life as often as possible!

Further reading

There's also more great information about mindful eating online, and you can read our first article in this series on mindfulness and nutrition here.

Miriam Stangs

Miriam is a diabetes consultant DDG (German Diabetes Association) and a qualified diet and nutrition consultant VFED (Association for Nutrition and Dietetics). She works as a diabetes coach at mySugr and takes care of children with diabetes mellitus type 1 in a pediatric clinic on a part-time basis.
She found her vocation while studying ecotrophology with focus on nutrition at the HAW - University of Applied Sciences in the beautiful city of Hamburg. She discovered diabetes mellitus in a practice for diabetology and has been advising people with all types of diabetes ever since.
Miriam's home is the Bergische Land in Germany. In her free time, she goes on hikes and searches for forest and meadow monsters with her dog.

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