If you’re a client of How To Chow’s, at some point we’re gonna talk about meditation. But you’re a nutrition counselor right? Shouldn’t we be talking about what I ate for lunch?
What’s meditation got to do with healthy eating?
A regular meditation practice lowers stress levels, reduces blood pressure, and improves your mood. It can even have a positive impact on your immune system, which are all factors of good health. But that’s not why I encourage meditation. The reason I love it is because of the “space” it creates.
One of the most challenging moments in healthy eating is that moment when you decide between a healthy food and an unhealthy food. If you’re in a hurry, stressed out, bored, emotionally upset or having an intense craving, this moment is even more challenging. Clients often say, “before I knew it, I had eaten half the container”. Or, “the craving was so strong, I was powerless to resist”.
When you practice meditation, you practice giving yourself “space”. Space between the thoughts that go through your head and taking action on them. Space to take a long deep breath before emotions threaten to overwhelm you. Space to consider what choice you want to make.
This space is crucial when you’re creating new habits, especially when it comes to healthy eating. When you meditate, you practice giving yourself that space. So when you really need it, you have it.
But I don’t have an hour to meditate every day! Don’t worry. Meditation can be done in so many ways. You can meditate for 5, 10, 15 minutes. You can meditate before you eat, when you wake up, before you go to bed.
You can also do an active meditation – eating for example. Chewing your food is an amazing meditation. Chose to have your meal in a quiet space away from your computer, TV or other distractions. Before you begin, take a deep breath and become really present. Look at your food and enjoy the colors, smell the aromas and notice how your saliva begins to increase. Take a bite and acknowledge each flavor and texture as you chew slowly. When done slowly and deliberately, meals become a meditation.
Here are some more of my favorite meditation resources:
http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22 – meditation of all different links that you can play on your computer or phone
http://www.hayhouse.com/morning-and-evening-meditations-audio-app – these are so nice to begin and end your day with
http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Now-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577314808 – This focuses on meditation for enlightenment but it really inspires you to make it a habit
http://deerparkmonastery.org/mindfulness-practice/eating-meditation – this is good to read as a guide for using meals as meditation – it highlights gratefulness and mindfulness.