"Mindful eating" is such a buzzy catchphrase these days that it can be easily glossed over as simply spending a few more moments paying attention to what's on your plate. However, truly mindful eating (and living!) is so much more than that. In my book, I dive deep into how your relationship with your body affects every single part of your life.
Mindful eating is just the tip of the iceberg, yet an important start, because fueling our body affects our energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. Living a life that you love begins with making peace with your physical presence. The world around us loves to tell us that we are not good enough, and it starts with letting us know that our body is not good enough so we better start trying to change it right away and buy into every fad diet and exercise routine to sculpt and slim right away!
When I work with clients one-on-one to heal their relationship with their body and tune back into their intuition, the first step is always rekindling that body love and acceptance through a daily body-gratitude meditation practice.
- Find a comfortable place and sit or lie down. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Take long, deep breaths and allow yourself to be extremely present in your body. Sit in the gratitude you have for simply being alive today, for having the opportunity to walk this earth, enjoy the company of others, and to do the beautiful work you came here to do.
- Take a moment and center on your heart, feel it beating, allow yourself to sit in immense gratitude for the blood it pumps through your body, for its constant beating without any help from you.
- Now focus back on your breath and fill yourself up with gratitude for your respiratory system, allowing you to take this glorious life-giving breath in and out day after day. Your breath's power to calm you down, to center you, to fill your blood with the oxygen it needs without much conscious effort on your part—it always has your back.
- Connect with your nervous system, your control center, sending messages to every part of the body. Making sure your heart beats, your lungs breathe, and you feel pain when you're doing something that's harmful to your body like putting your hand on a stove so that you know to stop. Give thanks for the emotions, awareness, and thoughts it gives you each and every day.
- Next, feel love for your skin, muscles, and skeleton, containing you in this beautiful earth suit. Holding you up, supporting you, and protecting you. Allowing you to move about, to run, to dance and navigate through this whole adventure fully.
- Feel the magic in your blood, thousands of thousands of little cells transporting oxygen all over your body. Spreading nutrients to where they are needed and removing any waste that needs to be discarded.
- Register your gratitude for your digestive system that allows you to process all the delicious food you eat and extracts the nutrients from it and expels the toxins so that your body gets just what it needs from the fuel you put in. Your urinary tract that also takes part in the crucial elimination of toxins from your body so it can function at its best.
- Your reproductive system that allows you the beautiful option of bringing new life into the world and the heavenly pleasure of intercourse with your beloved. Give thanks for the opportunity for either of those experiences.
- And, of course, your endocrine system, the little chemical messengers that direct the activities of all of your precious organs. How miraculously they orchestrate such complex systems each second of every day for us so that we may be alive on this planet.
- Take a moment and just allow yourself to saturate in the deep love and gratitude you have for your body in this minute. Take a deep breath in, hold it as you feel that love seeping into every cell of your being, and exhale.
You can also listen along to the exact meditation I give on YouTube. I recommend doing it every day for at least 40 days, if not a full 90. It slowly retrains your subconscious to remember how amazing and miraculous your body truly is. You can even take it into the shower with you if you are having a crazy morning: Simply take an inventory of your body parts as you soap up and scrub away and give thanks for the things you are truly thankful for.
I can't stress that last bit enough. This is not about doing some phony affirmation. You have a heart that beats all day every day, legs that walk you from one place to the next, hands that hold your newborn baby cousin, eyes that get to watch the sunset—you have A LOT of physical body parts that you are truly grateful for RIGHT NOW. We just want to amplify them and that love because too often the one or two parts we are not loving on get all the energy.
Incorporating your new ritual into your life
Once you are in the swing of things, begin a conversation with your body at the end of it. Take a moment and put your hand on your heart, the other on your navel, and ask, "How have I been treating you?"
Listen for what comes up naturally. Don't second-guess it or try to contrive anything. Just be open to listen. Next ask, "What do you need from me right now?" Feel free to get even more specific: "What workouts make you feel your best?" or "What food really fuels you? Anything I'm eating right now that's not working for you?" Your body wants to talk to you! It's just waiting for you to give it some airtime. Don't be discouraged if the first time you ask it's a little muddy for you to listen. You've probably spent most of your life ignoring what your body is trying to say, so allow it some time to speak up loud and clear. I promise it will if you keep showing up for your body-love practice.
Now that you are on your way to repairing your sacred partnership with your physical being, mindful eating can come more easily and effortlessly; you can check in with your body before each meal and see what it truly wants to eat so that you can take yourself off auto-pilot and into a more conscious place around food. Even better? You can use these same tools to check in with your body about all sorts of guidance in your life, "Is this the next right action?" "Should I go on a second date?" "Is this job going to be for my best interest?" The sky's the limit once you've opened up that intuitive connection!