Eat Mindfully – Forget About Counting Calories At The Grocery Shop
When you’re using a traditional diet it’s easy to get caught up in crunching numbers and evaluating progress that you can graph and chart. You look at your calorie and carb intake, how much and how often you work out, the up and down rollercoaster that is your average weight (which has so many factors that can affect it day to day even without dieting) and all those numbers can actually be what’s getting in the way of real progress you can be making instead. With mindful eating there’s no calorie counting, no charting (unless you’d like to keep a food diary), and best of all no rigid guidelines you have to worry about failing or falling short of.
Don’t get me wrong, traditional diets can be great for a lot of people. There are even many diets that work well hand in hand with mindful eating. The key to mindful eating over traditional dieting, however, is feeling your needs and progress rather than following and charting them. Much like how pregnant women have particular strong cravings, their bodies are telling them they need certain nutrients. The signs for the average person aren’t nearly so powerful, but anyone can feel the basic signals their bodies are sending them.
The first and most basic of these signals is when you’re hungry and when you’re full. The average traditional diet is a “one size fits all” type of deal. You get a certain list of foods to eat, a schedule of when to eat them, and portions on how much to have when you do eat. Instead of going through all that trouble, simply have healthy, delicious foods ready and on hand to eat whenever you’re hungry and simply stop when you feel satisfied. The most important part of mindful eating isn’t what or when you eat, but taking the time to savor and feel the impact of your food, giving you time to enjoy your meal while your body has time to let you know it’s done eating.
Where traditional diets and calorie counting gives you a schedule to follow, mindful eating helps you create healthy habits and lifestyle changes that feel natural. Rather than doing something because you have to or because it was part of a program, the choices you make yourself become a part of your new lifestyle as you form new, healthy, long lasting relationships with food and your body. When people look at a diet they tend to see something that will be over when they’ve reached their goal, but mindful eating is something that will stay with you forever, helping you to maintain your health long after you’ve reached your weight loss goal.
4 Great Grocery Shopping Tips
When it comes to making healthy choices it starts from the ground up. What exactly does that mean for you? It means starting at the source of your food, the grocery store! With mindful eating it is especially important to make the right choices when making food purchases because having access to healthy and tasty foods makes it that much easier to make an active choice towards those foods. There are no right or wrong foods when eating mindfully, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some choices out there that are better than others. Here are some basic tips to follow when shopping while mindfully eating.
1. Don’t go shopping hungry!
This is a pretty basic tip in general, when you shop on an empty stomach you’re more likely to fill your cart with what you’re craving or what looks good and you’ll leave the store with a cart full of chips and snacks. Mindful eating is all about following your hunger cues so make sure that your hunger is satisfied before you start your list and heading to the store.
2. Do a little research
Mindful eating is all about eating delicious, healthy foods. You want to be eating foods that taste good and are good for you, so if you want you can put in a little extra credit by doing some research online about which foods have good nutritional value that you already enjoy. Also don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things, you want to enjoy your food so if you see something healthy that looks like it tastes good, pick it up and give it a try.
3. Don’t restrict yourself
Just because you’re eating mindfully doesn’t mean that you can’t have some of your favorites, too. If you’re feeling like you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth then don’t flinch when it comes to adding a sweet surprise to your list. Since the core of mindful eating is considering your food as you eat, you just need to think to yourself “I know this doesn’t have much nutritional value but it tastes good” and make sure to balance what you eat with something healthy along with it.
4. Try to avoid “mindless” foods
You know what I’m talking about when I say this. If a food is the kind of thing you can just pop in your mouth or take handfuls of at a time without thinking, you may want to avoid putting it in your cart altogether. This includes things like chips, popcorn, candy, or just about anything else that comes in a big bag that’s easy to reach into and scoop out of. You want to be able to savor the flavors and textures of your food, something you can’t do if you’re just shoveling it into your mouth. If you want snacks, pick out something healthy and delicious you can take time to enjoy instead.
Just like the mindful eating itself, you should be making an active choice to choose healthy, delicious foods that you can take your time to enjoy and savor while you eat them. Stay in your mindful eating mindset while you shop and you’re sure to come out with lots of great food options from your shopping trip.
Should You Count Calories?
There are so many numbers involved in weight loss it’s easy to get lost in a sea of them. From watching your carbs and intakes to tracking your weight changes and how much you burn from your workouts it can be tempting to just let it all go and play the whole thing by ear. While that might be tempting, especially if you’ve got a busy schedule, sometimes counting your calories can be an important part of tracking your weight loss and making sure that you stay on the right track.
Counting your daily caloric intake is an important step in tracking your weight loss progress because it’s basically tracking how much food you should be eating in a day to gain, lose, or maintain your weight. It’s not enough to simply know how much you should be eating, if you want to lose weight or maintain a goal/healthy weight then you need to know how many calories are entering your body and tracking how many you’re burning through your exercise and fitness. Not counting your calories while trying to lose weight is like spending a day shopping without checking your account balance. Without paying careful attention you could end up in trouble by ending up overdrawn.
Counting calories is particularly important for busy people simply because it makes you aware of how much you’re eating. When you have a goal bar set for how many calories you want to eat each day, you can look at that as a physical manifestation of how much you should or shouldn’t eat to reach that goal. When you don’t count your calories it’s easy to think “well, just this one small thing won’t put me over” or “I think I have plenty of room left today” only to be shocked when you finally add it all up at the end of the day. Of course counting your calories isn’t required to lose weight, but it definitely goes a long way in making it much easier.
Counting calories is simply an efficient and effective way to track your eating habits and make necessary changes if you find out you’re not reaching your goals. Even if you’re too busy to journal everything you eat on the spot, just try to keep a notepad or piece of paper with you and jot down what you eat throughout the day and count your calories when you get home. You can also try keeping a “calorie menu” of your common snacks and foods with you so you have a quick reference sheet with you on the go. So yes, if you are serious about tracking your weight loss and especially if you have a busy schedule, it is incredibly important to count your calories in order to accurately gauge your weight loss goals.