During lockdown, I decided to get my act together with my health. I basically ate my way through the stress. My usual crippling chocolate addiction was joined by a sudden fondness for Deliveroo and UberEats deliveries. Of course, not really being able to leave the house to get any exercise just put me at the worst level I’ve ever been at in terms of my diet, stamina and weight.
But anyone who knows me knows that I can’t do crash diets or fads. I just can’t. I accidentally managed to do intermittent fasting for a while but that was purely down to my everyday life being such a mess that I wasn’t getting around to eating until lunchtime.
Then a friend mentioned mindful eating to be, but I ignored her for a while as I wasn’t sure exactly what she was talking about and it sounded like another fad to me. Then I did a bit of research and realised that mindful eating was more a state of mind than a diet. Most of my poor diet is consumed without me realising it. I eat when I’m working, or watching TV, or out of habit. A lot of the time I don’t even remember eating, I just have a pile of chocolate wrappers to remind me. I can’t even remember the last time I was truly hungry when I started a meal.
What is mindful eating?
So mindful eating isn’t a fad diet. Its basic premise is that you don’t eat in a distracted fashion. You eat slowly, without the usual distractions and pay attention to when your body tells you that you’re hungry or full. And I have to say, it’s been a game-changer for me.
I stumbled upon a podcast from Karla Thomas called Mindful Eating: An Introduction. Karla is a trained chef who became interested in mindful eating and how she could use her skills to help people change their eating habits.
The podcast is really interesting and deals with a different topic in each episode. It also takes into account the people over 40 might have particular lifestyles or habits that make healthy eating a little more difficult. Now that I’m 41 I’m definitely finding I’m less resilient than I was in my 20s and 30s.
Karla uses her experience to give tips and hacks on how to incorporate mindful eating into your life. The focus is on fitting it into your everyday life with as little disruption as possible rather than having to completely focus your day around your diet.
As well as the podcast, Karla also offers Mindful Eating membership. There are three levels of membership to choose from and they all offer practical and emotional advice on how to use healthy eating to change your health. Depending on which level you choose you’ll receive:
- A customised menu plan
- Grocery lists
- 1-2-1 coaching
- Check-in calls
- Nutritional tips on how to increase your vitamin intake
Mindful eating is something that I’ve started to incorporate into my daily life. It’s helped in a number of ways. My diet is still far from perfect but for me, it has improved a lot. Rather than just shoving food into my face without thinking about it, I make sure that I don’t have too many distractions when I’m preparing and eating food and I find that when I think about it, I naturally make better choices. My weight has started to come down but more than that, I’m finding that I feel better too. I don’t feel as sluggish and I’m actually pleased with myself that I’m making smarter choices. Having more energy has also made me start to exercise more too. I’ve started incorporating walks into my everyday activity whereas beforehand, I would often spend all day working from home and the only real exercise I would get was walking to my son’s school to do pick up and drop off.
If you’re looking to make long term changes rather than fast results, then I would definitely recommend mindful eating. If you’re the type of person that needs more support and accountability, then I would definitely recommend signing up for one of Karla’s memberships to take advantage of her expertise in coaching and nutrition.