Mindful Eating in Times of Work from Home
By Puja Gupta
Amongst the zillion other things that this pandemic has changed in our lives, it has changed the way we eat. This means different things for different people.
While many of us used the time at home to turn to cooking and baking and completely did away with ordering in and takeaways — thereby eating cleaner and healthier; there were also those who had to juggle WFH and household chores and didn’t find time to streamline their diets.
On the contrary their lifestyle became more sedentary and eating habits more disorganised. Not to mention the physiological reasons for turning to food when the world has turned upside down.
In short, people are struggling with their eating right now and probably in different ways than they’re used to. An expert on Tata Sky Family Health, Mona Johar, Functional Integrative Nutrition and Co-Founder Mechanism Wellness, lists down ways of mindful eating in the time of Work from home.
Structure your day
Not having the usual comfort zones like socialising, travelling to work or spending time outdoors in nature, has pushed us towards eating disorders in the last one year. And of course, the havoc caused by the absence of a routine. It is important for people to carry on with a schedule, to try to wake up at set times and go to sleep at certain times. This will give them a purpose and do away with ‘pandemic boredom’. Once there is a structure, things like diet, exercise and sleep will automatically fall into place.
When life revolves around a table and chair for most parts of the day, thanks to homeschooling and WFH, the obvious conclusion is meals on the desk (read more snacking)! While snacking may help in keeping your energy levels up, in a sedentary environment it also aids your body in storing unnecessary fat. One should have a combination of either low calorie and high protein snacks or low calorie and high fiber snacks. Plan your meals in advance and keep them as fresh and organic as possible.
Mindful and intuitive eating practices are not diets. They are mindsets that require you to trust your natural instincts and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is about rethinking food choices and practices; going back to traditional ways of eating and engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and taste. Work your way up to eating mindfully every day and forgive yourself when you don’t. It can take weeks, months so be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of building a stronger mind-body connection and improving your relationship to food.
Start an intuitive journey
Honour hunger: Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant.
Don’t eat for the wrong reasons: Get in touch with your feelings and don’t let food become an excuse for not dealing with emotions such as anger, anxiety, or loneliness.
Make peace with food: Buy food you feel like eating. Listen to your food cravings, it is alright to indulge every once in a while.
Stop when full: Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full.
Don’t over-exercise: Check in with your body, do not exercise hard when exhausted, opt for a gentler routine. Have a variety of workouts at your disposal and pick and choose based on how your body’s feeling.
Exercise and move for enjoyment: Not expressly for weight loss or calorie burning.
Eat nutrient dense food: Notice how you feel when you choose healthy, high-quality food. Take stock of your physical, mental and emotional responses.
Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.ians.in