Take a moment to consider your own stress-free or stress-full eating styles by answering some of the following questions. And for those of you who are practitioners, this is a wonderful tool to use with your clients:
- Do you tend to eat more when feeling anxious? Or do you eat less at those times? Might you do one or the other depending on the situation?
- What kinds of circumstances prompt you to eat this way: particular times of the day? certain settings? specific days of the week? Is anxious eating work-related for you? Is it family-related?
- Approximately how often do you eat under stress? Can you express this in a percentage of your total eating time? (As an example, some people eat under stress only 5 percent of the time, some 85 percent of the time.)
- Do you tend to eat certain foods when feeling stressed out? List as many foods as you can. Which ones do you eat the most?
- Do you feel full after stressful eating or do you feel hungry? Are there any common physical symptoms you’ve noticed during or after such times?
- How much time do you take for your repast during stressful eating episodes? Do you taste your food? Do you chew it much or do you shovel it down.
- Next, think of meals when you’re relaxed, enjoying yourself and your food, perhaps in good company, when you’re satisfied with what you have and fulfilled once your meal is complete. How often does this occur for you? What percentage of the time? Do you eat any particular foods during relaxed meals? How much time do you take? Where do you eat these meals? With whom? When? How do you feel after a stress-free meal? What are the sensations in your body?
Hopefully, you can see the nutritional importance of the mindset under which we eat. We can be munching on the healthiest meal in the universe, but if it isn’t eaten in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation – which happens to be relaxation, then we aren’t receiving the full nutritional value of our meal. Can you think of a more simple and empowering dietary strategy than this?
If you have any insights or “aha’s” about the positive impact of relaxed eating, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
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The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss
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