Its been coming up to 5 years since I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and in that time I have had to adjust to quite a different way of life. To be diagnosed with a chronic illness can be a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. It may seem like the end of the world, but there will always be a silver lining in every challenge. You may have heard it before, but what you eat has more impact on your health than any form of exercise.
There’s no two ways about it, that focusing on the food I eat especially with a gut-related chronic illness, has had a remarkable impact on my ability to cope.
Understanding Chronic Illness
Dealing with any chronic illness is like having an unwelcome guest that refuses to leave. They’re life nuisances that we’d all just want to get rid of and hinder us from performing activities that used to be normal to us.
Managing chronic illnesses is also a long and exhausting process that’s filled with phases of symptoms popping up and down. Although medications and doctor appointments are the known answer to such challenges, there is one course of action that you can take that will significantly affect your health in a positive way. This is to practice mindful eating.
What is Mindful Eating
When you say mindful eating, it’s not just about counting calories or turning your plate into a food museum. Instead, it focuses on your eating experience and body-related sensations. You have to pay attention to the food you’re eating and acknowledge the signals your body is telling you. The whole point of mindful eating is to promote an enjoyable meal experience and understanding of your environment at the moment you are eating.
Think of it as a culinary meditation, where you are fully present, relishing the flavours and giving your digestive system a high-five.
The Perks of Mindful Eating for Chronic Illness Warriors
Now, let’s talk about benefits. You may have read about certain diets that promise better body and overall health at other sources like exantediet.com, but what we’re offering is the game-changing power of mindful eating.
That’s because, with mindful eating, less digestive distress is experienced. Food is less likely to be wolfed down, which can be a real gut-wrencher for folks with conditions like IBS. Slow and steady wins the race.
And what about stress? Chronic illness is a breeding ground for stress but Mindful Eating helps hit the brakes on stress-eating. It’s like a safety net that stops those stress-induced midnight snack attacks.
Now, here’s the kicker – weight management. With Mindful Eating, weight isn’t just shovelled in; the body is being listened to. It can help maintain a healthy weight or reach weight goals without going on some crazy dieting rollercoaster.
How to Dive into Mindful Eating
Let’s cut to the chase. How can you fully embrace Mindful Eating?
Start with taking small bites. Seriously take it step by step. Savour each mouthful as if it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted. You know what? It often is!
Eliminate distractions. Don’t watch television or mindlessly scroll through your phone while you’re eating. It’s you, your meal and a delightful sensory experience. So take the time to enjoy every moment of it.
Don’t forget to listen to your body. It has a lot to tell you. Eat only when hunger strikes and stop when you feel satisfied. Simple, right? But admit it or not, a lot of us think of boredom as a sign of hunger, which is why we often snack on something when we don’t have anything better to do or when we’re just trying to pass the time. Remember, eat only when hungry and not when lonely.
Mindful Eating and Medication Magic
When you do mindful eating while going through the medication process of a chronic illness, there will always be medications that you’ll have to take. Taking these medications is on time and as prescribed by your physician is essential in your healing process.
When you practice mindful eating, you’ll be able to pay more attention to your body, which, in turn, will tell you about your illness therefore, will help you remember to take your medication on time.
The Hurdles and How to Leap Over Them
Let’s be real here. It’s difficult to do mindful eating when your mind is filled with doctor’s appointments, test results, and all those other things that give you stress. However, here are a few tricks for you to practice mindful eating.
- Take a deep breath and think about the nutritional value of each food you’re eating.
- Use all your senses as you go through the whole process, from preparing to the act of eating itself.
- With the food in front of you, appreciate it.
- Keep your posture relaxed as you eat.
- Put your utensils down after every bite. Let your tongue engage in every flavour.
- Give gratitude for the food that you’re eating and reflect on where it came from.
- Eat slowly. Take your time. No one is after you.
Success Stories: Real People, Real Results
Jeremy Bronwell suffered serious injuries when he got into a motorcycle accident, shattering both the bones in his lower leg. Although he was told that he would recover after six months, his bones got infected, causing him to suffer from more physical and emotional stress. However, with the help of mindful eating and exercise, he was able to speed up his recovery. Though he was guided by a professional nutritionist, Jeremy started logging his food intake, leading him to mindfully choose healthier food.
Jeremy’s story is just one of the effects of mindful eating. Whether you’re suffering from an illness or a victim of a car accident, your pathway to recovery is best travelled with mindful eating.
In a Nutshell
Mindful eating is not a form of diet. However, it is a way of life that’ll help you improve your health by embracing the sensations of every moment. By giving yourself a chance to enjoy this simple, repetitive and seemingly mundane act of eating, you are ridding yourself of stress eating, any digestive issues, and inconsistent medication schedules.
Embrace this approach and incorporate it in your healing journey and you’ll be surprised with how much it can impact your overall health and disposition in life. You can also search for some other success stories of those people who were able to achieve great lengths through mindful eating. And let their testaments be the ultimate proof.
Always remember that by taking mindful bites one step at a time you hold the power to transform your life.
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