Do your snacking tendencies tend to rise as the temperature drops? The change in weather as we transition into the colder seasons might alter our eating habits and in turn impact our digestive health. Now more than ever, it is essential to emphasize the importance of mindful eating.
Mindful eating refers to the rise in awareness of one’s food intake, relationship with food, and how one experiences food. Outside temperatures can impact our mood and in turn influence our relationship with food. Let us explore this correlation and how best to stick to mindful eating in the colder months of the year.
How Your Eating Habits Are Influenced By The Change In Weather and Season
In the warmer months of the year, our bodies tend to opt for lighter foods because we require less food for warmth. Since our bodies are already warm we tend to need less heavy food for energy and warmth. As it starts to get colder, our need for food as energy and warmth starts to change. Lean into this need and indulge in all the comfort foods that the fall and winter seasons have to offer. Hearty meals such as sheet pan pastas, soups, and pot roasts are all wonderful options that are jam-packed with nutrients and energizing ingredients.
This being said, our bodies' innate desire to consume more food tends to lead to unhealthy eating habits such as eating foods that are high in processed sugars and fats. Try to be mindful of the types of foods you are consuming and aim to incorporate whole foods with macro and micronutrients beneficial to your health.
People tend to spend more time inside their homes in the fall and winter months which can also impact one’s eating habits. When you are spending more time inside, you are more likely to snack more due to the convenience of eating. It can lead to eating more out of habit or boredom than necessity. Try to become aware of whether your body is really in need of food at that moment or if you are just looking for something to do.
The change in our circadian rhythms might also impact our eating habits. Less hours of sunlight can cause our body’s natural hormones to fluctuate including the ones responsible for making us feel hungry. Take note of these potential changes and allow yourself the grace in understanding the changes in your appetite, overall body, and health.
How Best to Practice Mindful Eating Habits In Your Daily Life
1. Eliminate distractions
With the hustle and bustle that characterizes many of our daily lives, it comes to no surprise that we tend to multitask while eating our meals throughout the day, but did you know that eating with distraction can impact your digestion? Your blood and body is forced to focus on two things at once rather than honing in on the digestive process. Try and eliminate all distractions while eating so that your body can properly focus on the job at hand. Furthermore, our meals should be a time of intention, gratitude, and connection. Instead of watching television or checking your emails, try and spend time with a loved one while eating. This will help to foster connection and your digestive process will thank you for it. Improper digestion can cause constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain.
2. Get in touch with your emotions
Emotional eating is very common and can be triggered by several different types of emotions ranging from sadness and anxiousness to even happiness or boredom. When you allow your emotions to dictate your hunger, it can cause an imbalance in your eating habits and in turn your digestive process. Be sure to intentionally take note of what is driving you to eat. Is it your emotions or is it because you are truly hungry? Emotions can trigger both overeating and eating too little. The best way to get in touch with your emotions and its connection to your hunger levels is by keeping a log of your emotions and what it invokes. If you find that you struggle with understanding the connection, be sure to reach out to a professional physician for further support.
3. Engage with your body while eating
Eating is something we do every day, and because of this it can become easy to get into the habit of doing it mindlessly. Food nourishes our body so thus the process of eating is a wonderful thing and should be honored as such. Try and focus on your meals and the process of eating when you do. This will help you to eat slower and chew more mindfully which promotes better digestion.
Go-To Essentials That Can Support You On Your Mindful Eating Journey
1. A food diary
Writing down how you feel before and after you eat is just one step of the process. You can also use a food diary to track how your body reacts to certain foods. A food diary can help you to identify any food sensitivities or intolerances you might have. It is crucial to identify these sensitivities so that you can avoid their negative effects on your digestive tract.
2. A probiotic
A supplement for bloating such as a probiotic supplement can be helpful when aiming to eat more mindfully because it will support your digestive tract. Our digestive tract needs probiotics to foster healthy bacteria and stave off any harmful bacteria that might try and invade. Take a probiotic for bloating day in and out to best support your digestive tract.
3. Create a comfortable environment
One’s environment impacts the way we feel and thus can impact our emotions when eating. Try and foster an environment where you feel comfortable and at peace in both your kitchen and dining areas. Some easy ways to spruce up your space is by incorporating music into your cooking routine, adding some fresh flowers into your space, and keeping it clean and tidy. When you are happier to cook you are more likely to enjoy your food and this will lead to better digestion!