With Americans stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, many are finding themselves turning to food for comfort. Mindfulness expert and Mindful Methods for Life teacher Julie Potiker shares tips to help people eat mindfully and support their overall health and well-being during this challenging time.
“People are talking about the ‘Corona 20,’ similar to the ‘Freshman 15,’” says Julie. “Many of us are stress-eating junk food and might be packing on a size or two during the pandemic! Here are some tips to help you regulate and rebalance so you’re supporting your emotional and physical health during this unprecedented moment in modern times.”
Julie is the author of “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” She share this – Stress Eating? Try Mindfulness.
Practice the Pause: Practice paying attention to the moment you reach for food. When we’re stressed, eating can become automatic, but the truth is it’s always a choice. Pause and ask yourself, “Am I hungry right now, or is that stress I’m feeling?”
Listen to Your Body: What foods would most help your body feel healthy and strong right now? Make a list of your favorite healthy, nourishing foods and stick it on your fridge. Next time you reach for a snack, choose something from your list.
Eat Mindfully: Be the observer and pay mindful attention to the way you prepare, serve, and eat your food. Slice and dice mindfully; put your fork to your mouth mindfully; taste and chew mindfully. It’s also lovely to consider the source of the particular food — where and how it was grown, the farmers who produced it, the distribution chain that allowed you to enjoy your meal. That naturally leads to a moment of gratitude.
Be Kind to Yourself: Mindful eating is NOT about depriving yourself or chastising yourself for food choices. If you want to order a pizza or have some chocolate, that’s up to you! The idea here is to allow yourself a little more space around eating so that it doesn’t become thoughtless and automatic. Be present, treat yourself with Loving Kindness, and choose what feels best for you in this moment.
“The goal is to stop worrying and ruminating by paying attention to what you are doing when you are doing it,” says Julie. “Let’s use the base for a nourishing soup — carrots, celery, and an onion — for illustration: Look at the color of the veggies; feel the water running over them; feel the water on your hands; feel drying the veggies and see placing them on the cutting board. Feel the weight of the knife in your hands; notice the knife cutting the veggies, the sound of the cutting, any aroma released by the now-diced veggies. Sliding the veggies into a pan with warm oil, notice any sound, the look of the colors, the aroma. Feel into stirring the veggies in the pan. When you notice your attention being diverted to worrying about what might happen, or ruminating on what you just learned that is upsetting, gently bring your attention back to the act of cooking. If you can keep your attention on this activity — even for two or three minutes — you will be giving your brain a much needed break from the chaos.”