Real Health Podcast: 'It's phenomenal to see how they approach food in Finland, the world's leader in anti-obesity'
The next time you reach for a snack or something to eat, ask yourself, are you really hungry?
Mindful eating - the practical approach to bringing calm and awareness to meal times - is the topic for this week's episode as I'm joined by Aisling Larkin, co-founder of Foodoppi.
Disordered eating can lead to things quickly spiralling out of control, but you can bring mindfulness back to where you are and start afresh for the next meal or snack. Draw a line in the sand and move on.
When you’re more in tune with your body it’s about choosing quality over quantity and Aisling Larkin gives us some of the secrets and techniques to ensure that you're not eating mindlessly.
Plus she has some great tips for improving your kids' relationship with food to help make meal times more enjoyable for everyone! Check out Aisling’s Top Tips for Mindful Eating Families below.
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The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry in association with Laya Healthcare.
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Aisling Larkin’s Top Tips for Creating Mindful Eating Families
1. Firstly, we need to look at our past, then become wholly present in the now as we set out intentions for what we want to achieve. We then begin to visualise what the future looks like.
2. From here we begin to identify our physical cues. We use simple, mindful activities to help the body tune in to sensations of hunger, thirst, fullness and satiety. It is important to allow yourself to experience physical hunger, eliminate grazing and try not to eat two hours before your next meal in order to build up an appetite.
3. Then, the causes of this hunger and the desire to eat need to be considered. Clients need to determine what the body really wants for nourishment. If we are seeking food but perhaps not truly physically hungry could we be craving social connection, kindness, stimulation, attention, learning, praise, physical exercise or maybe some creativity.
4. Become aware and utilize our outer wisdom in relation to areas like nutrition and fitness for a healthy body and a healthy mind.
5. There are no labels on foods when eating mindfully – food is not good or bad. Food is not a reward or a punishment. Food is just food.
6. When eating mindfully there are no restrictions or deprivation. No food is forbidden or off limits. When foods become restricted it tends to become central to our thinking and then we start to obsess over it, crave it and eventually binge on it. This results in us becoming disinhibited and out of control when we finally give in and end up eating the food. This then results in shame and guilt creating a long term negative relationship with food.
7. Giving clients the tools and skills to self-regulate is key to mindful eating. As meditations help us to become calm, focused and alert, we become better able to manage emotions, pay attention, ignore distractions, control impulses and process what we are thinking and feeling. By doing this we can make better more mindful choices.
8. Allow yourself permission to enjoy food. Have freedom and flexibility about the foods you eat. Eat with pleasure, savour the foods, celebrate the moment and allow no place for shame or guilt.
9. Discernment is a key part of the process. Try to choose quality over quantity and remember “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it and if you love it, savour it.” (Evelyn Tribole)
10. Have flexible but structured meal times where everyone sits together without any screens or distractions. The family connect, chat and be grateful for all that we have.
11. Let go of perfectionism. When introducing eating mindfully in your home it takes time and consistency but eventually these little changes turn into invisible habits and a new family culture. Have some self-compassion and kindness and remember, if it’s not perfect today, that’s OK! You accept you tried your best in the situation today and you can just try again.