The importance of eating mindfully

eating mindfully, Jessica Sepel

As babies, we ate intuitively: we fussed when we were hungry and stopped eating when we were full. Then, as we grow up, many of us lose touch with our true hunger signals. We start eating when we’re bored, sad, stressed, or happy. We turn to food to deal with our emotions and use. We forget food is purely available to keep us alive and well. It’s here to nourish our bodies – not solve our emotional problems.

As women, we need to identify those underlying emotional issues that are affecting our relationship with food. That’s the first step. The next time you reach for a chocolate bar or a bag of salty chips, ask yourself if you’re really hungry, or if you’re just emotional. Is there something going on in your life that needs attention?

Once you’ve figured out what’s causing you to emotionally eat, you can begin to change your habits – and heal your relationship with food.

When it comes to dealing with emotions, food is not the answer.

eating mindfully, mindful eating, Jessica Sepel

I used to be a victim of emotional eating. Every morning, the number on the scales would determine my eating patterns. If I liked what I saw, I’d feel empowered, and I’d stick to my diet. If I didn’t like it, I’d punish myself through deprivation or the total opposite, by bingeing on the food I’d been missing for so long. I’d berate myself for not having “more willpower” – then the cycle would start all over again the next time I “slipped.” That is no way to live. Trust me. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping women find their way back to eating with love and joy. 

Natural eaters vs. dieters

To banish emotional eating for good, you need to let go of the diet mentality and become a natural eater instead.

Here’s the difference:

Dieters think about food all the time. They become so preoccupied with food, it starts to take over their quality of life. They have an emotional connection to food.

The fact is, food is not there to make us feel better – it’s there to keep us alive.

Natural eaters, on the other hands, don’t class food as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ They see it purely as a source of fuel and nourishment. They enjoy eating, of course, but they know they’re eating food to survive. That’s it.

If you can shift your mentality and start to see food as a) abundant and b) a source of nourishment, a few things will happen. You’ll start eating when you’re hungry, and stop bingeing and using food to deal with emotions. And as a result, you’ll lose weight.

Diets don’t work because they’re a deprivation game. When we deprive ourselves, our bodies get tricked into thinking food is scarce. They then kick into survival mode, slowing down our metabolism and holding on to anything we feed it. You may lose some weight, but you’ll pile it straight back on. That’s the other problem with diets: they’re not sustainable, and the stress they cause wreaks havoc on your hormones and mind.

Give up the diets. They don’t work.

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Jessica Sepel
Jessica Sepel is one of Australia’s leading nutritionists as well as an author, wellness coach and health blogger at http://www.jessicasepel.com. You may recognize her from her beautiful recipes – she is the beloved voice of very active Facebook and Instagram profiles featuring daily food inspiration and health mantras. Her second eBook, The Clean Life, was massively successful worldwide, before being published officially by Pan Macmillan Australia under a new title, The Healthy Life. As a regular contributor to Vogue Australia, mindbodygreen and a variety of international publications, Jess continues to expand the JSHealth brand for women who want to prioritize wellness in their busy lives. She has a passion for helping young women develop a healthy relationship with food, teaching self love and respect everywhere she goes and has just completed her second book, to be published early next year.