5 Strategies to eat mindfully at work and not skip or shovel lunch.
“Mindful eating is eating with intention whilst paying attention.” Kati Konersman
Do you ever find yourself busy at work? Silly question I know! You are always busy at work. How does this impact the way you eat? Do you skip or shovel your lunch?
You are worried about the meeting you need to prepare for or the report that needs to be submitted. Perhaps you just lose track of time and skip lunch altogether. Or you give yourself a 6min lunch break just enough time to shovel it in before the next client arrives.
As a Corporate Health Advisor I often see employees skipping or shoveling. It is important that you get the vitamins and minerals for cell growth and regeneration. To fuel your body as well as your mind for clarity of thought, optimal decision making, efficiency and productivity. To make the right food choices that will promote optimal physical and mental health.
Here are 5 strategies to mindfully eat at work so that you nurture and nourish your body and mind.
- Schedule in your lunch break.
Sounds simple right! Just as you schedule in a meeting or an appointment. Block out the time in your diary for a lunch break. In an environment that has no work distractions. When we are distracted, it becomes harder to listen to our body’s signals about food and other needs. Move away from your desk and go to the tea room, cafeteria or outside in the sunshine.
The focus is on your lunch and nurturing your body. Giving your brain a break from work. You will reap the benefits of this time out and good nutritious food. When you return to your desk you will be ready to smash out some work.
- Listen to your body’s hunger signals.
It’s important to tune into the mind-body connection and tap into our innate ability to understand our needs when it comes to hunger. The body produces a hormone called Ghrelin which is produced by the stomach. It triggers receptors in the brain to inform us that we are hungry. Ghrelin also has protective effects on the cardiovascular system and plays a role in the control of insulin release.
True mindful eating is listening to your body’s signals for hunger. Is your stomach growling, low energy, light headed? So often we eat just when our mind tells us rather than our bodies. We may eat just because of emotion, stress, anger, frustration. Listen to that mind-body connection. Does my brain tell me I am hungry? Is my body giving me the signals?
- Develop healthy eating behaviours.
We often create habits and routines for ourselves which aren’t always contusive to healthy mindful eating. Eating as we are working or walking. Habits are formed and can be difficult to break. It is important to check in with yourself around your habits with eating. Are you eating on the go? Are you shovelling food in whilst you are working? Are you skipping meals all together?
Recognize the habit then formulate a plan for healthier eating. Sitting down in a suitable environment, taking the time to enjoy your nutritious meal. Being focused and mindful of every mouthful and enjoying the taste, flavours and aromas. Take time between mouthfuls to determine if you are full. We often habitually finish what’s on our plate when our bodies are full. We produce a hormone called Leptin which is released from fat cells. Leptin signals to the brain which can be slow and we often overeat before we realize that we are full.
By taking our time listening to our mind as well as our bodies for when your hunger is satisfied. You feel a sense of peace or control, as well as a loss of interest in eating. If you keep eating it can be uncomfortable. For example, your stomach might hurt and feel bloated, and you might feel lethargic. Your goal should be to eat just enough to achieve fullness.
- Nourish your body and mind with a nutritionally balanced meal.
Often I witness employees skipping there lunch breaks and sipping on sodas or energy drinks to keep up their energy levels. They are simply filling their body with empty carbs high sugars with no nutritional value. This peaks their blood sugars and the need for insulin to break the glucose down. Short bursts of energy are followed by slumps in blood sugar leading to tiredness, poor decision making abilities, potential workplace injuries as well as increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes. I also witness employees shovelling in a quick takeaway bite. Meat pie, hand burger, shit processed food that’s not giving them the essential vitamins, minerals and nourishment the body requires.
It’s important not only to consider and be mindful of how we eat but also what we are eating. Look at your prepared lunch and ask yourself these questions. Is this meal going to nourish my body? Do I have a healthy balance and good variety? Is this meal going to promote optimal physical and mental health so that I will continue my work day productively?
- Be mindful of your foods journey.
Now this may sound weird. But we have become so disconnected with our foods journey. We don’t often consider where our food has come from to arrive here on a plate before us. All the people involved from those who planted and harvested the raw ingredients to those that packed transported stocked shelves. The person that lovingly prepared the meal. Being mindful of the elements that grew the food from the earth’s soil, water and weather.
As you consider and appreciate everything that went into this meal. From the people to the earths elements to your much loved one that prepared it for you. With mindfulness and gratitude not just around the meal on our plate but the beyond us bigger picture may just instigate wiser choices that are healthy for our body, mind, environment and the sustainability of our future.
Contact Christine Boucher. Corporate Health Advisor to help get your employees health and wellbeing back on track. It’s an investment in the health of your staff and overall wellbeing of your business.