"I have no idea when I am hungry and when I am full.” This is a statement made by many of Mindful Eating coaching participants. It’s no surprise. Years of yo-yo dieting and mindless overeating interferes with your body’s natural, internal signals of knowing when to start eat and when to stop.
Is there anything you can do to change this?
Yes! Mindful movements can provide an excellent opportunity to reestablish a healthy connection with your body, and so with your innate hunger and fulness cues.
What science says about mindful movements?
Research confirms that it’s not just intensive cardio workouts or running that helps people to be more mindful eaters. In fact, the gentle practice of mindful movements and yoga may really be all you need (Framson et al. 2009; McIver, McGartland, and O’Halloran 2009).
You may be thinking, “But yoga doesn’t make me sweat, how could it help me to manage my weight and appetite?”
When you slow down and tune in to yourself, you begin to develop and nurture the important connection between your body and mind that has been destroyed by years of dieting.
Ultimately, yoga helps make you more aware of what you eat and how it feels to be full. When you befriend your body and care for it well through stretching, breathing, and relaxation, you no longer treat it like the enemy.
It is only through mindful awareness of your body that you gain more power over your hunger, appetite and stress cravings.
Mindful eating yoga
You don’t have to become an expert at yoga to reap the benefits of becoming a more mindful eater. Try learning one pose.
Remember that the purpose of this mindfulness exercise is for you to reconnect with your body, not have an intensive workout. Your aim is to get to know yourself inside and out.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Adopt a mindful mind-set.
Remember that this activity isn’t just about burning calories. It’s about developing techniques that tune you in to your body.
Yoga helps you to develop mindfulness, good posture and muscle tone, healthful breathing, body confidence, wisdom, patience, discipline, and compassion.
Strike a pose.
Try the yoga pose of your choice in a room without mirrors. Looking in mirrors can make you self-conscious. The goal is to tune inward. Doing it perfectly doesn’t matter.
Use you senses.
Take note of every sensation, no matter how small. This may include how your hair moves against your neck or how your lips part.
This is great practice for tuning in to your body when you eat.
Welcome in whatever feelings come to the surface of your mind when you move. It might be positive thoughts or feelings about the experience, like “This feels good,” or negative thoughts, like “This feels uncomfortable.”
Positive self-talk is part of yoga. While in the pose, say to yourself things like “I feel stronger and more flexible.”
You want your body to feel challenged and different. But don’t push yourself too hard or you will become frustrated and overwhelmed. You will know when you’ve reached the challenge point when you start to feel discomfort. This is a challenge you can adapt to eating.
Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone by ordering something new or leaving a bite or two on your plate.
Allow yourself to stop.
Rest. Again, honoring your body when it is tired or says to stop is critical to becoming a more mindful eater.