With the war on drugs as a super controversial topic, often having cannabis or LSD as one of the main players, I personally feel as if those are the worst of our problems. Sugar is such a big part of our diets, in fact, it might be too big. Learning about nutrition recently, what you put into your body, and in what quantities is extremely important. I feel as though we are overdosing on sugar, and the effects it is having on the health of our communities is devastating.
From marinara sauce to peanut butter, added sugar can be found in even the most unexpected products. In the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children even though current dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day. Several studies are now showing that sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as diabetes. It is no surprise that, these figures are even worse for people of color.
Recently, I learned about a mindfulness technique that has changed my relationship with food for the better. Mindful eating is a technique that helps you gain control over your eating habits. It has been shown to cause weight loss, reduce binge eating and help you feel better. Mindful eating is based on mindfulness, a Buddhist concept. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you recognize and cope with your emotions and physical sensations. It has helped treat many conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety and various food-related behaviors. Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings and physical cues when eating.
So, why does this matter? What does it have to do with sugar?
In our fast-paced society, we face an abundance of food choices every day. On top of that, distractions have shifted our attention away from the actual act of eating, and onto televisions, computers and smartphones. We don’t actually take the time to feel how the food that we are eating is making us feel. Not the company we are with, not the emotions associated with the food, just the bare bones, this makes me feel good or this makes me feel bad. Eating has become a mindless act, often done quickly. This can be problematic, since it actually takes the brain up to 20 minutes to realize you’re full. If you eat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you’ve already eaten too much. This is very common in binge eating. This is the case when it comes to sugar. We are really not aware about how much sugar we are consuming on a daily basis, and our bodies, are screaming for us to wake up.
By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one. Also, by increasing your recognition of physical hunger and fullness cues, you’ll be able to distinguish between emotional and actual, physical hunger.
Furthermore, you’ll increase your awareness of triggers that make you want to eat, even though you’re not necessarily hungry. By knowing your triggers, you can create a space between them and the response. That gives you the time and freedom to actually choose your response.
So how can I try it out Lady? I’m glad you asked! I recently started my meditative practice as well, and it will look different for everyone, depending on what you resonate with. Here are some tips to help you get started:
To practice mindfulness, you’ll need a series of exercises and meditations.
Many people find it helpful to attend a seminar, online course or workshop on mindfulness or mindful eating.
However, there are many simple ways to get started, some of which can have powerful benefits on their own:
- Eat more slowly and don’t rush your meals.
- Chew thoroughly.
- Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone.
- Eat in silence.
- Focus on how the food makes you feel.
- Stop eating when you’re full.
- Ask yourself why you’re eating. Are you actually hungry? Is it healthy? How does it make you feel? Emotionally? Physically?
To begin with, it is a good idea to pick one meal per day, to focus on these points. I suggest dinner, make it a table activity, great for the family or your new boo! (November just ended y’all)
Once you’ve got the hang of this, mindfulness will become more natural. Then you can focus on implementing these habits into more meals. I suggest trying a few different meditative techniques, this one included. I’d love to hear how it goes! Let me know in the comments section below.
Until Next Time Tribe,