Mindfulness is the foundation of my work in the Mindful Nutrition Method™ and all that we do here at Nutrition Stripped, however, most people don’t think of mindfulness as a key piece of nourishing themselves.
Having a daily mindfulness practice can support your eating habits and give you countless other benefits of meditation itself.
If you’re new to mindfulness, let’s first define what it is:
Mindfulness is experiencing the present moment by bringing awareness to your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, environment, and physical body sensations while practicing non-judgment and compassion as you observe.
This awareness supports you in more ways than one with how you nourish yourself, so let’s explore why it’s so important for you to use mindfulness as you build your eating habits.
How a Meditation Practice Can Positively Support Your Eating Habits
1. You Cultivate a Positive Relationship With Food
With a mindful approach to nutrition, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to eat. Mindfulness helps you release judgment, guilt, and perfectionism and instead learn to practice self-compassion so you can learn from your experiences and also appreciate the many roles food has in your life.
2. You Develop Confidence in What’s Best for Your Unique Needs
You learn to develop a deeper awareness of your body and experiences, which guides you to uncover and understand your unique needs. As you become more in-tune with your body, you build confidence in how to best nourish and care for yourself, bringing so much more ease to your eating habits.
3. You Better Care For All Aspects of Your Wellbeing
Mindful meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have shown to reduce levels of stress, anxiety, depression, physical pain, heart rate, and high blood pressure while increasing and enhancing emotional health, attention span, immune function, brain functioning, mental clarity, mental focus, a sense of calm, and sleep. Not only does mindfulness itself have a direct impact on your wellbeing, but when those areas of your wellbeing are well-tended to, it supports your ability to make nourishing choices for yourself.
4 Steps to Create a Meditation Practice
There are so many accessible ways to get started with meditation! Whatever your learning preference, there is a resource available including apps, books, videos, group classes, and one-on-one training you can use to start meditating.
1. Prepare a Quiet and Comfortable Space
Sitting still can be so challenging, especially if you’re just starting on your mindfulness journey. Having a comfortable place to sit that’s dedicated to your meditation is key.
I love the Avocado Mattress Meditation Pillow because it’s natural and organic vegan materials and features a buckwheat fill, which creates a firm but comfortable base that adjusts to your unique body.
I’ve been a long-time customer of Avocado because they’re committed to making products that are both high-quality and also better for your health, farmers, and the planet, which is so important to our wellbeing.
2. Download a Meditation App and Start Small
If you’re just starting, one of the easiest things you can do is use an app on your phone to try out guided meditations and determine what type of meditation you enjoy.
Some well-rated apps include:
Once you’ve found an app that has the style of meditation you’d like, look for a couple of meditations that are 5 minutes or less. Remember, you’re just getting started and it’s going to take a little bit to build patience, comfort, and ease with sitting still and clearing your mind.
You don’t need to start with 30 minutes (and you may never even need or want that long!) Take it one step at a time and know that 2-5 minutes is more than enough to start feeling a shift!
How to Strengthen Your Mind-Body Connection
3. Choose What Part of Your Routine Could Fit Your Meditation Practice
Setting your alarm to wake up earlier may not be the best time to meditate.
Instead, look at your existing day and find where you typically have 5 to 10 minutes. This could be on your lunch break, right before bed, or in the morning while your coffee or tea is brewing.
Building your meditation practice into your already established routine will make it much easier for you to follow through! Once you know what time would be best for you, set a reminder or alarm in your phone or on your calendar so that you don’t forget. It’s a new habit and having that reminder will be so helpful in cultivating the habit.
4. Keep a Reflective Journal
I can’t recommend journaling enough because it’s one of the most powerful tools.
You can use a journal to support you in many different ways from food journals (i.e. what you ate, when, how does it make you feel, what was your hunger like, cravings, digestion issues, emotional health around the meal, etc.), to journaling about stress from the day as a way to reflect, to journaling about what you’re grateful for each morning, etc.
Physical journaling with pen and paper has been shown to help increase cognitive function and information retention rather than using a digital one – so try the old fashion way and check-in with yourself.
After your mediation practice, take a couple of minutes to write and reflect on how you’re feeling, what came up during the practice, and your intention for your day (or the next day if you’re meditating at night). This extra moment of mindfulness after a meditation practice guides you in tuning into your mind and body more and can help you deepen your practice.
Put it Into Practice
Meditation is a practice for a reason. There is no wrong way to meditate and you’ll find what works best for you as you practice and adjust. Starting is the first step to cultivating a strong meditation practice.