Updated: Jun 21, 2020
My name is Maya Atlasov. I am a passionate yoga teacher, fitness instructor, and holistic health coach. I help people feel more connected to their bodies, thoughts and emotions through movement and nutrition.
WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING? I define mindful eating as the activity of being 100% present during the entire experience of eating (it can be a restaurant meal, a meal you made yourself, or simply a piece of chocolate). It is the practice of uniting the body and the mind. In a sense, it is a way of practicing yoga off the mat. It is a way to understand what you want, what you need, and how you feel before, during, and after eating.
Mindful eating is HARD WORK (sometimes a lifetime of work) to let go of the habits that are instilled in us and develop better ones... Mindful eating is a tool for you to see, experience, and absorb food in a healthier and more enjoyable way. Mindful eating is one of my secret passions. I say “secret” because I fear that people will judge me as a hypocrite if I share. I don’t eat most meals with 100% presence. I usually eat while watching youtube or Netflix. I eat while listening to a podcast, while driving, while walking... I do my best and am improving, but I am far from perfect when it comes to eating mindfully. However, I have had quite a bit of experience eating mindfully on a consistent basis and can promise you that it does wonders for our physical (weight loss, better digestion, satiation levels) and mental health (practicing gratitude, presence, and self-care).
YOUR MINDFUL EATING TOOLBOX:
Ask friends/family/colleagues to join you for a meal: Food brings people together...having conversations with others during mealtime gives us a chance to pause during the day to connect with others. It can provide a sense of contentment and security, which can ease feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Be present while cooking: Cooking is where eating truly begins. Connecting with your ingredients (no matter how healthy they are) and preparing your meal (doesn’t have to be big + elaborate) has been shown to decrease stress, increase confidence and creativity, and makes us feel more satiated faster in comparison to eating at a restaurant.
Get comfortable with the silence because trust me, your mind will keep you entertained: When eating alone, we tend to reach for the computer, tv, or phone to make us feel as though we are not alone...reasonable! I do it. However, lately i've gotten to really enjoy eating in complete silence when alone. I love how my mind just wanders into reflection and imagination. Eating is a big deal and is enough of a stimulating activity that our mind and body doesn’t really want anything else. Eating in silence also allows us to hear our body when its full which is super beneficial for feeling satiated after a meal and losing weight (if that is of interest to you).
Before ordering at restaurants or cooking a meal take 10 deeps breaths and ask your body what it wants/needs and how hungry it really feels on a scale of 1-10: Whether it’s looking at a menu or the inside of your fridge, take 1 minute to take some deep breaths and ask yourself what your body wants and how much it wants! Rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10, 10 being super hungry. Even if you end up reaching for the cereal or ordering pizza, you will have so much more awareness of your body and your decision.
Finish the bite before taking another: Putting yourself in situations where you don’t feel rushed while eating is the most important key for this one. You should give yourself at least 15 minutes to eat a meal so that you're not stuffing yourself with the next bite before finishing the previous one.
Chew all the way through: The recommended amount of chews per bite is 32. I don’t know about you, but I DO NOT chew that much. I would just recommend trying your best not to rush through eat bite. Keep in mind that our body cannot process the vitamins and minerals in the food when it cannot be easily broken down.
Most importantly: Be the exception, not the norm. Stick to your mindful eating practice rather than adapting yourself to those around you.
Contact Maya by clicking the following link from your mobile device: reaction-app.maya