Mindfulness & nutrition - part 1 - yoga for the stomach and soul

4/23/2019 by Miriam Stangs

Yoga, tai chi, meditation... these mindful practices have been around forever and continue to gain popularity.

It’s no surprise. We’re surrounded by the rushed “to go” lifestyle with coffee shops, pastries, and Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere we turn. It makes sense that we need to also remember to slow down and nurture our mind and soul, too.

The rush of life

It’s no surprise. We’re surrounded by the “to go” lifestyle with coffee shops, pastries, and Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere we turn. It makes sense that we need to also remember to slow down and nurture our mind and soul, too. Mindfulness is currently such a trendy word. But if you break it down and include it in your approach to food and diet, it's a nice approach! It brings you back to enjoying the delicious experience that nutritious food offers. It’s a reminder that you can, and should, slow down instead of rushing through your meals. I’m reminded of a wonderful quote from St. Teresa of Avila, which fits perfectly: "Be kind to your body, so your soul enjoys living there."

Diabetes and food

With type 1 diabetes, a lot of thought around meal planning and nutrition involves matching appropriate insulin doses to the food. And for children with type 1, parents or caregivers are doing most of that work. As a teenager, I can remember and completely relate to the ravenous cravings for food! After a fun night out with friends, it would be common for us to swing by a restaurant for some fries or to share the obligatory bag of chips with friends on the train on the way home. True to the fast food generation! With type 2 diabetes, you hear about lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, at every doctor appointment. The topic of diet or nutrition probably feels annoying, especially if you’re not given specific instructions about how to make those changes. You might even walk away wondering, “ok, but what do I actually do now?”

Why be mindful?

Diet and exercise are issues that affect all of us with diabetes every single day. Of course, it should be important to everyone, diabetes or not, to devote some energy thinking about this stuff. Our bodies will thank us. But it’s also important that we remember to be kind to ourselves as we grow our mindful practices around food and diabetes. What advantages would you gain being more mindful about diet and nutrition?
  • This is a "non-diet" approach! Because fad diets do not work, they just teach you not to trust your own body. Mindful eating means finding a balance and responding appropriately to the needs of your body.
  • It is not scary! Facing eating habits built over many years is no easy matter. Mindful eating is judgment-free and without strict rules that would make you feel bad in case of setbacks. You decide the pace!
  • The exercises (more on that in the next article) are realistic and feasible.
  • As you open more and more to the exercises, it will provide you with tools that will last a lifetime. Humans are creatures of habits.
  • It is for everyone! No matter if man, woman, young, old, big eaters, small eaters, flexible eaters or meal planners to the end.
  • Mindful eating is all about accepting you and your body holistically. And as a result, you’ll feel deep satisfaction and healthy motivation to keep growing and learning.
But how does mindful eating actually work? More in the next article!

Miriam Stangs