5 Tips For Eating Mindfully

It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and now bikini season is just around the corner!

How is it possible it manages to sneak up on me every year?

If you're anything like me, you like to wring every last DROP out of hot summer weather. 

Living somewhere where it's cold (or at least chilly) for most of the year has me embracing those 6 weeks of true bikini weather like a long lost friend.

So of course, I want to look my best while doing it!

I'm a firm believer that confidence is EVERYTHING when you're rocking a bathing suit, regardless of your size. I also believe that exercise and eating well helps you feel your best.

And you know what they say...

Let me be clear: THIS IS NOT A POST ABOUT DIETING. I've never been good about cutting out specific foods or restricting myself for the sake of my body. 

I mean have you ever tried a cupcake? Magical right!?

Life is better with food. LOTS of food. From fried chicken to fabulous salads, and everything in between. But if you want to feel like your best and most confident self (and healthy to boot) then you should practice eating mindfully!

So what do I mean by mindful eating? 

It's not calorie restriction (though it's not over eating either) or leaning only on expensive grass fed, organic foods. Eating mindfully is about being actively aware of how you shop, about making small changes to be more in control of what's passing through your body, and putting in the effort so that you look and feel great.

Plus it will probably save you money! Always a good thing.

Here are my 5 Tips For Eating Mindfully, to help you get your body feeling finely tuned for summer so you can look and feel your best!

1) Shop The Perimeter

I have my mom to thank for this one. I don't know where she picked it up but it's been a health-and-money saver for me for years.

When you go to the grocery store, start with your veggies (lots of them!) then walk around to grab your meat, dairy, eggs... then leave.

I NEVER go into the center aisles unless I know what I need. Don't wander down the cookie aisle aimlessly. Don't just "take a peek". If you know you need pasta, or rice, or spices, lock your eyes on it like a laser beam and then get outta there! If you're easily tempted, leave your cart at the top of the aisle so you can't fill it up as you go.

The packaged crap at the grocery store is not your friend. Make a list of "aisle items" before you go shopping and ignore the rest of it, your body will thank you!

And of course if you must buy aisle items, read those labels!

2) BYOL (Bring your own lunch!)

I talk about this one a LOT, mostly with regards to saving money (exhibit A) but it's not just good for your wallet, it's good for your health too!

I don't think it's a big secret that food from restaurants or fast food joints is bad for you. The food that you make at home has way less salt, sugar and bad fats in it. 

If you're not a big sandwhich eater (and I don't blame you) make 2x the dinner and then pack it up for lunch the next day. You'll save money and ditch the unnecessary health pitfalls that come with buying your lunch every day.

3) Try and eat vegetarian one or two days a week

I just want to make clear that I am not a vegetarian. Nor do I think you have to be one (unless you want!) 

But you can't deny that as a society, we are BAD at eating vegetables! 

So when you're eating mindfully, try to challenge yourself to eat vegetarian one or two days a week.

Forcing yourself to find more ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet on these meat-free days will not only increase the amount of healthy veggies you're eating, but you'll also have more in your arsenal for your NON veggie days.

But don't just rely on potatoes and rice or pasta as a crutch! Do something weird with eggplants, make zucchini lasagna, put together a badass salad. 

Think of it as an Instagram challenge: no one wants to look at your photo of potatoes and rice, they want to see your colourful julienne carrots with fresh peppers, a bit of quinoa on kale with homemade dressing, cilantro, red onions and radishes... 

NOW i'm hungry!

4) Portion control

Like I said at the top: this post is not about calorie counting. However if you're practicing mindful eating, you need to consider portion control. 

Most of us eat WAY more food than we actually need, and it can get us into trouble really quickly if we're not being careful. If you're eating to the point of being so full you need to nap after dinner, you've got to scale back.

Food shouldn't make you uncomfortable 

There's lots of great resources available for determining portion control but I like the below visual as a basic guideline.

Remember: one plate is enough, you don't need seconds!

5) Skip the fancy coffee 

I know this is hard. I know that a venti, 2% fat, 6 pumps of caramel macchiato with whip cream is delicious. I FEEL YOU.

But that sucker has almost 400 calories in it. That's 20% of what the average person needs in a DAY. 

To give you an idea of what those calories are made up of: Black coffee has 0 calories. So everything else is just fat and sugar... and mostly sugar.

I'm not saying drink your coffee black, but I AM saying that you shouldn't spend money on an unhealthy sugar rush in the name of caffeine. It's like drinking a liquid Big Mac. Big Mac's aren't part of mindful eating, and neither is that fancy coffee! 

If you're serious about feeling your best, scale back to something that doesn't involve those pumped flavours, and ideally scale back to just... coffee (or tea!). Your body will thank you.

So I want to know: What does eating mindfully mean to you? Is it avoiding carbs (you brave soul you)? Is it loading up on veggies? Is it cooking at home? Let me know in the comments below!

PS: If you liked this post, you might like these posts!