With more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your eating patterns are probably looking a little different than usual. You might be spending more time in the kitchen snacking, or you may be skipping meals due to increased anxiety and stress. These changes in eating habits are normal reactions to an abnormal situation, and it is important that we practice self compassion with regard to eating during this time. This is why we have put together three tips for mindful eating practices. You can watch the video below, or read this complete article.
Tip 1: Create a mindful environment
With many of us working from home, it’s difficult to create boundaries between work and home environments. With the distractions of work at home, it is harder to pay attention to the foods we are consuming. This can make it more challenging for us to realize when we have had enough to eat. Try to avoid screens during meals. Eat your lunch away from your workspace, and try to enjoy it! Create physical boundaries between your workspace and eating space when you’re eating at home.
Tip 2: Box breathing
It is important that when you sit down to eat, you let go of the anxiety and stress of work in order to be more mindful and enjoy your food. Box breathing is a technique that utilizes breathing to reduce your stress.
All that you have to do is:
- Inhale for four seconds
- Hold that breath for four seconds
- Exhale for four seconds
- Hold that breath at the bottom for four seconds
Repeat this sequence however many times you need to, relax, and get ready to enjoy your food!
Tip 3: Hunger fullness scale
When we are in-tune with how hungry our bodies are, we are better able to nourish ourselves. The hunger fullness scale is a great way to be mindful before, and during a meal. To start, gauge your hunger level on a scale of one to ten: one being extremely famished, ten being Thanksgiving dinner full. Gauge your hunger level before you are about to eat, and while you are eating. You should aim to eat when you are at a three, and stop eating around a seven. Know that this can fluctuate based on the meal or time of day, and approach each check in with curiosity rather than judgement. Incorporating this exercise will help you be more mindful- which can help identify when you may or may not actually be hungry- and teach you to become more aware of your fullness cues.
If you have additional questions about mindful eating, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our dietitians.