Conscious nutrition: the relationship with food

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Louise Hay

Conscious nutrition: the relationship with food

Do you feel guilty after eating? Are you always hungry? Today we will talk about conscious eating.

Last update: May 25, 2020

Summer is over, but there are still some nice days when we can relax with friends and family around a table. Many find themselves in the situation of deciding whether to go on a diet or let go. Conscious eating helps us manage this moment and improve our relationship with food.

In some cases, a casual diet is the result of a busy life. In others, the relationship with nutrition to and with one's body is completely lost. We realize this when we feel sick after meals or when the first problems related to being overweight begin.

It is at that moment that we ask ourselves the problem of eliminating certain foods and following a diet that helps us shed the extra pounds. The sense of guilt arises and we blame ourselves for the food we eat and for what we should eat instead.

Conscious eating is not only about what we ingest, but also how we ingest it. It is useless to change the type of diet if we then eat too quickly, without chewing enough and without allowing our senses to enjoy the moment and the experience of eating.

Eating more than you should

Our brain takes about twenty minutes to receive and analyze the satiety signals sent by the stomach. By eating very quickly, it is likely that we will finish the meal having consumed more food than necessary.

Chewing and swallowing does not mean eating consciously. The act of eating is always accompanied by different emotional states. When we eat with awareness, we experience a feeling of satisfaction. On the contrary, when we eat unconsciously, we do not feel comfortable with our body, too full, and even a kind of lethargy appears.

A study by Langer, Warheit, and Zimmerman indicated that 44% of subjects believed they had an overweight problem after each meal. Over 45% felt guilty after eating.

Conscious nutrition: the four questions

To introduce conscious eating into our lives, we need to pay attention to some aspects. First of all, one must commit to creating a continuum of awareness. The more we are aware of our relationship with food, the greater the chances for improvement.

When we feed, we must be aware of what we want and what we should eat. To do this, it is good to ask yourself four simple questions:

  • Is my satisfaction with the way I relate to food high or low?
  • Is the level of pleasure that food gives me when I eat high or low?
  • Do I eat normal portions or do I tend to choose larger than normal portions?
  • When I finish eating, do I feel happy or uncomfortable?

If we pay attention to answering these questions, we will begin a process that will lead us to conscious eating. Being aware will allow us to adopt a healthier diet.

On the contrary, if we are distracted and unconscious, we will not have control over what we eat. The important thing is to plan well what to eat and when.

Emotional hunger

Il our way of eating is greatly influenced by the socio-cultural context in which we live and is intimately linked to our emotions. Depending on how we develop our ability to manage emotions, we will be able to follow the right habits to follow a conscious diet.

We eat emotionally when we are unable to distinguish pleasant (or unpleasant) emotions from the actual feeling of hunger. In addition, low tolerance for emotional distress leads to irrational eating. This is what we commonly know as "refrigerator assault".

We use food as an escape valve to cope with the mismanagement of emotions. Food is not to be viewed as entertainment, relief, anxiolytic, or antidepressant. This way of using nutrients is nothing more than a ploy used by the brain to temporarily reduce accumulated stress. The problem is that this attitude ends up becoming a habit.

Develop conscious eating through awareness

Constant observation of ourselves helps us to better manage our abilities regarding conscious eating. It is also a way to avoid self-sabotage. The solution is to build new mindful eating habits. It is essential to start wondering if the hunger we feel is physical or emotional. We need to identify our emotions and manage them correctly.

We must practice putting off the feeling of hunger until the time of the meal and not encourage it with justifications of any kind. You can consciously engage in some enjoyable activities that are not related to food.

Following a conscious diet is a skill that is acquired and trained. When you go from eating emotionally to eating consciously, you feel better because you take care of yourself. In this phase, we understand that we have control over what we eat and, therefore, control of our body.

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