Counting Macros and calories has become a popular and successful way to help many people reach their fitness goals.  Have you asked yourself, what’s next?  Can you see yourself counting calories and macros forever?  Do you have a vacation coming up, or a social gathering and you don’t want to be that “weirdo” logging your calories into an app or be discouraged to eat because you’re concerned the food will create havoc with your macro count?

Or like me, who has a tendency to become consumed with numbers, only to create disordered eating habits or negative self-thoughts about body image?  The guilt of not hitting your established macro number or calorie count spot on can be so mind consuming and discouraging.  Well, there’s another way, and it’s called mindful eating!!

A definition of mindful eating is put beautifully by The Center for Mindful Eating’s position statement which reads, “healthy eating is enjoyable eating that meets nutritional needs. It utilizes the practice of mindfulness by intentionally bringing awareness to the internal and external environment while eating.  It endorses eating, whenever possible, food that is whole and nutritious. It supports flexibility around food choices, including eating food that is appropriate to the occasion.”

There are 6 principals you can begin practicing today.  Notice I say “practice” because, it does take work to become familiar with eating mindfully.  To make the 6 practices easier to digest, we’ll take a look at one principal per week for the next 5 weeks.

The first principal, I believe it to be the most important and the most challenging, that is listening to our hunger cues.  That’s right we have hormones that tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full.  However, as Americans we have food readily available for our consumption. Most of the time we’re never truly experience being hungry and as a result we over eat.  We never feel the sensation of being full.

So, this weeks challenges; first, feel hunger (belly is growling), then eat.  second, stop eating when you’re full.  In order to stop eating you must slow down so you can be aware of your fullness.  It is said that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to catch up to your stomach. When we slow down our eating, we can then notice the feeling of being full and not over consume.  Suggested ways to slow down are; by sitting down at a table to eat, chew ~ 15 times for each bite, or try putting your fork down in between each bite.  Can you think of any others (comment below)?  Seems like old basic manners to me!

If we work this first principal, can you imagine how calories will be cut naturally?  Mindful eating will create awareness around how much food our bodies don’t need to be satisfied and in good working order.  Go ahead and give it a try, use it in conjunction with counting macros or calories if that is still something you want to do.  You can do both!!!  It’s about you and what works for you.

Terra Haag