Meditation Challenge Round Up

I’ll have to apologise for how late I am with this roundup! We’re almost a week into April and I can tell you I did not do very well at last month’s challenge. I started off OK, but as the month went on I went from meditating every day, to meditating about once a week. Rubbish.

p209476_1But on the days, I did meditate it was great, especially if I meditated first thing in the morning. When I meditated in the morning I spent the rest of the day carrying a smile and a sense of calm. I continued to hear my breathe and remain in the present ready for whatever I needed to do. This did carry over if I then didn’t meditate the next day but I always felt the best straight after I meditated.

It may not have gone well but I’m pretty sure I can identify where I went wrong and it’s this self-observation that meditation teaches you.

I increased the time waaay to quickly.

I knew it was ambitious to increase 5 minutes a week but I didn’t realise how much so. Once I got to 20 minutes I really struggled. Of course, meditation isn’t supposed to be easy, but because it had gotten so difficult, and it was taking longer, I began making excuses for myself not to do it, which is never the best habit. In future, I think I’ll stick to 10 minutes, and if I manage that consistently for a month, then I will up the time by 5 minutes. There’s no rush, so it was wrong of me to make push it so quickly.

I began a new project in March.

I also began a new side project in march and I’ve spent so much time on that I pushed Flat Calm Living to the side somewhat. Because there’s a new thing! It’s all shiny and exciting! But that’s ok, I realised before it’s too late and now I’m comfortable I can work on both side by side. Besides, doing this can only help improve my mindset making me much more focused on my work!

I rushed.

I think by issuing it as a challenge I ruined some of the basic rewards you get from meditating. By having it as a challenge I couldn’t let go of feeling bad when I didn’t meditate and letting go is exactly what you’re doing every time you meditate. It also became a slight burden when it should help bring balance and reduce stress. I didn’t feel especially stressed when I didn’t meditate but I did feel guilty which was never the intention. So I will keep meditating but I am going to lose the schedule. I will meditate as regularly as I feel like.

I set the goal to high.

I’ve talked before about goal setting and how I like to set massive goals and then try and come close to achieving them. This thinking usually makes me work twice as hard but for these challenges, I don’t think it’s applicable. So I need to start setting more realistic goals. Because starting to do something, and instantly doing it every day for an extended period is not easy. Not Impossible, but not easy. So for this months challenge, I will be aiming to do something 3 times a week.

Which brings me on to the next challenge, I am going to go running 3 times a week. I recently read a book called Born To Run and it really inspired me to start running again. I used to run when I was around 16 years old, I ran a half marathon and was part of a triathlon team for a short while. Since then, I have done very minimal running, except when I was running really late! I’ve headed out running I think 3 times in the past 2 weeks so I’m excited to amp this up and see what happens. And I think 3 times a week is much more manageable than every day! I’m not going to set distances or times or anything, I just want to head out to run, get back into the swing of things before I start setting any distance or time goals.

Do You Really Need Extra Electrolytes?

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I was watching TV the other day when a Powerade advert came on. They were talking about how your body needs electrolytes when you exercise because you lose them through sweat. Of course, the best way to replenish them was to buy their product.

I had no idea what an electrolyte actually is.

I thought other people might be the same so stay tuned to find out!

WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES
Do you really need extra electrolytesThey are cells that contain an electric charge, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. And you do you lose them when you sweat so that part was genuine!

The important part about electrolytes is the charge. This charge is what your body uses to communicate with itself. When a positive cell is next to a negative cell a charge can get passed through. This causes a big chain reaction through your body up to your brain. Say your finger is sore, this charge will send a signal to your brain telling it your finger is sore period. These signals keep your Body in Balance.




WHAT DO THEY DO

Electrolytes have a lot to do in your body. Your body knows how much sodium there is and balance this with water so as not to dehydrate you. When you sweat you lose sodium and as such your body retains less water to help you keep balance. So when you have more sodium your body contains more water and water is essential for a healthy body. Electrolytes keep the same balance with the acidity levels of your blood. If your blood becomes too acidic or too alkali it can cause you to become ill. They are also responsible for helping your muscles contract, relax and repair!

WHO NEEDS THEM

Everybody! Everybody needs electrolytes because they’re an important part of your body. Fortunately, they are more than abundant in fruits and vegetables as well as other foods. So as long as you’re eating a balanced diet you will definitely have enough electrolytes.

If you find yourself with bad muscle cramps you may be lacking sodium, one of your electrolytes. The easiest way to fix this? Glass of water with a little bit of table salt. Not so much that you’re sick, just enough to help your muscles sort themselves out.

DO YOU NEED EXTRA WHEN EXERCISING

Generally, I would say no, your body should have enough nourishment stored from eating a balanced diet. The exception is if you are exercising in very high temperatures.

The people who will likely benefit are endurance athletes. If you’re going to be running an ultramarathon, you may be running for up to 12 hours. During this, there is no way of replenishing the body so it might be worth using a supplement.

CONCLUSION

Basically, they are the oil to help things keep running smoothly! They are simple to get by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking mineral water. As always maintaining a healthy diet! It won’t hinder you to have a sports drink while you’re exercising, but it’s not necessary.

They also tend to be quite expensive so consider making your own a home! Take an empty bottle with fruit juice top up with water and add a pinch of salt. Easy, simple, cheap

Don’t forget to like Facebook page so you never miss a thing!

🙂

What Affects Your Metabolism

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What Affects Your MetabolismMetabolism is a term used to describe all chemical processes in the body that are to do with maintaining the living cells. Usually, when talking about metabolism, the term refers to how quickly we digest and process food. This is the metabolic rate. People with a higher metabolic rate have more chemical processes happening, so require more energy. This means they tend to eat more because the food gets digested and turned into energy. If you have a lower metabolic rate this food gets digested and stored as fat. Metabolism is affected by a number of things such as your weight, your age, your gender and even the time of day!

But what non-circumstantial events and activities affect your metabolism?

Thyroid

Your thyroid is the gland that is responsible for producing the hormone thyroxine. It is this hormone that helps regulate your metabolism so you burn as much energy as you need. Normally it can tell what your metabolic rate should be but there are various medical conditions that can cause it to go out of whack. If it gets bigger it will produce too much thyroxine causing you to gain weight and if it shrinks the opposite happens. You sometimes hear people in movies say they're overweight because of glandular problems. This is the thyroid. So it could well be true, but there are a lot of other more likely reasons that could also account for weight gain...

Does having more muscles give you a higher metabolism?

According to Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, a pound of muscle burns 3 times more calories than a pound of fat while at rest. So yes having more muscle will give you a higher metabolism. However, the difference is only 3 calories per pound to 10 calories per pound. So gaining 3-5 pounds of muscles will result in about an extra 30-50 calories a day being burned. But over the course of years, this will have a big effect.

What about when you exercise?

When you exercise you use up glucose stored in the muscles. When you finish this glucose needs replacing so your metabolism gets faster to help repair. Your muscles also need to repair which uses up calories. I talked before about high-intensity interval training when I discussed how HIIT leads you to an oxygen deficit. This then leads to your metabolism increasing to help replenish your body.

Drinking Water

Drinking 500 ml of water can increase the metabolic rate by 30% according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This means that if you drink 2 litres of water you will burn around an extra 100 calories a day. Again this doesn't seem like much but this is the same as 2.4kg of fat being burnt off in a single year!

Caffeine

Caffeine does increase your metabolic rate. It has the chemical epinephrine which sends a signal to your fat cells telling them to breakdown and release into your blood. But coffee and tea themselves have calories and a whole host of other possible side effects so its not the best way to increase your metabolism.

Green tea

Green tea is a popular part of diets that's meant to aid weight loss and promote a faster metabolic rate. The studies that have been done on green tea and metabolism have produced mixed results.However, water increases your metabolism so a glass of water with some stewed leaves in it is bound to as well right? Also hot drinks do burn more calories because your body needs to work to cool you down after the drink has heated you up.

So overall there are a lot of factors that play a role in your metabolism. Since it can only be measured with specialist equipment and controlled experiments, I think it's best not to think about it and simply let nature run its course! And before you go be sure to give Flat Calm Livings Facebook page a like!

🙂

Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

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Imposter SyndromeI'll be completely honest and say I didn't want to write this post. I felt like I wasn't really qualified or wouldn't be able to talk about it as well as others have or could. Then the dawning realisation hit me. I am feeling imposter syndrome about writing a post about imposter syndrome. Irony or what!

Imposter syndrome is a term used to describe successful people who have a fear of being exposed as frauds. They don't believe they are responsible for their success. They believe their success came from things such as good timing and luck. Emma Watson, after she finished filming in the Harry Potter series lost complete faith in her own acting abilities. In an interview, she said “Any moment, someone’s going to find out I'm a total fraud. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am.” This is the epitome of imposter syndrome.

It happens to a lot of people and it's important to try and counteract it before it causes you to hold yourself back and missing out on opportunities.

Here's what you can do to stop it taking over.

KEEP A DIARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

If you keep a track of everything you accomplish, whenever you are feeling like an imposter you can look at the list and see everything you have done to get to where you are. I do this with goal setting. I always a have a to-do list to try and focus myself. Then when I start  feeling out of my depth, I can look back and see everything I've done to get to where I am

CALL IT OUT

Tell a friend you think you have imposter syndrome. Tell yourself in the mirror! Just get it voiced out into the open and then think about everything you've done. Make the fact that you have imposter syndrome ridiculous! You! You who has done so much to get to where you are! If you tell the right person that is what they will tell you.

What do you think would have happened if Emma Watson told her friends that she thought she was a terrible actor? Chances are they would have laughed in her face. And rightly so! It seems like such a ridiculous thing for someone so successful to think. So getting it out in the open and seeing it as laughable is good, it helps get things in perspective.

RATIONALISE

Ask yourself what will happen if you fail. Realistically what will actually happen if someone asks about what you know. And always be optimistic about this. I wanted to start this blog but for about a year before I finally begun work on it. I kept convincing myself of all the terrible things that might happen. Eventually, I managed to reason with myself that the worse outcomes were that no one would read it or like it (the only victim there would be my ego). Aside from that, I would be able to collect my thoughts and clearly define all the things that help me reduce stress. I would learn about setting up a website. Even if one person reads it and learns something to apply in their own life then it's a victory. So I decided I could set aside the possible bruising of my ego for all the great things that could come. And I'm so glad I did because of all the wonderful things I have learned so far!

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Say you're going for a job interview. Like clockwork, the doubt starts trickling in. What if there is someone better than me? What if I can't answer the questions?

Fake it.

Go in pretending to be the person they're looking for. Go in as the person who has all the answers that they couldn't possibly say no to! You are awesome, charismatic and they couldn't possibly resist your charm. If you pretend to be this person all the way through you will likely have a lot more success than the person who went in convinced they'd fail! And if things don't work out, learn from it.

THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE BETTER

What you see and hear isn't the whole story. Everyone is just pretending they know what's happening! So don't stop because someone else is "better". If you always compare yourself to others you will always find someone who has done more or achieved more. You can't sit around wishing you'd achieved as much as Mark Zuckerburg by the age of 25. You have to go out and start doing! No one got to the top without years of hard work. Years of knuckling down learning, failing and trying again.

Remember, no one else can think your thoughts or take your actions.

The world needs you to go for it because no one else can do what you can. People can do similar things, they can copy what you do, but no one is you. So we need you to take action and start getting things done! Without your voice how will anyone be able to hear your thoughts!

If you know someone who might be suffering from imposter syndrome please share this with them!

🙂

7- habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey Review

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7 habits of HIghly Effective People7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey was an incredible book. I can see why was the best-selling phenomenon the last 25 years.

Covey's complete honesty throughout the book makes it very compelling to read. He uses examples from all parts of his life, his work, his family, his friends. It shows you how effective the habits can really be.

It was a refreshing change to have a self-help book written with such notable authority full of examples of so many people throughout history so many other pieces of work. The last self-help book I read was how to be a badass by Jen Sincero. Which was good but it was a little bit airy fairy. She had a nice message, but it was basically, just do it, trust what you're doing and it will work out. It was an interesting book but I’m much more of a logic and reason kind of person.

I love how straightforward and practical the book is. There is nothing that couldn't be done by every single person and it can apply to every situation through your life. It was so clear and concise.

For example, the first habit is to be proactive. He talks about the difference between a proactive and a reactive person. In the book, Covey describes this as such: a reactive person has their moods affected by the weather, so they get sad when it's raining and happy when it’s sunny. A proactive person carries their own weather, they have their own sunshine to make them happy night and day. I really liked this metaphor, that everything including your mood can be under your control.

I personally learned a lot from habit 5, seek first to understand then to be understood. Covey talks about empathetic listening which I realised is something I'm not very good at.  It is a form of listening which makes you have a full understanding of the problem before offering any sort of comment.

You don’t need to give advice unless you are asked for it. I’m terrible for offering solutions, I always jump straight to what will fix the problem without really listening to what the problem was. But now that I know this, it is something I can work on. Covey talked about how important this is in all relationships from family to the corporate world. Two business partners must fully understand each other before a deal can be made.

It was interesting to read about how to apply the different habits in all areas of life, not just the business world. When I first looked at the book I assumed it would be all about entrepreneurs and what they do. The habits of figures like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates how they got to where they are. The book was much more down to earth than that. Its goal is to teach you how to be the best person you can be. It's not just about success and accomplishments. it's about being everything you can be and I love that.

I read the book on my Kindle but I think I'm going to try and get a hard copy of it because it's not a book just to read once. It is definitely a reference book so I want to have a hard coffee maker later to scribble on and dog ear my favourite Pages.

Overall the book was really good, it was a really well-organised, full of great practical example that can apply to everything. A definite staple for anyone wanting to be everything they can. Click here to buy it on AmazonUnseen Academicals!

For the next to Book Club, I'm going to read Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals.  I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan. I have read a solid half to three-quarters of all his books but I have not read Unseen Academicals. I do love the Unseen University setting, I really enjoy the parody of the traditional English university, especially while I was at university so it should be good. Alternatively, if you have never read a Terry Pratchett Novel before I would recommend starting with either The Color of Magic or Guards, Guards.

Are There Good Fats And Bad Fats?

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Are there good fats and bad fatsThere is a lot of debate about what fats are good for you and what fats are bad for you. You read about one diet that is all low fat then another which is all high fat. I did some research and this is what I found!

TRANS FATS

This the worst offender when it comes to to fat as it increases bad cholesterol. This, in turn, can lead to gunk building in your arteries which is bad for your heart. Trans fat is the byproduct of a process called hydrogenation. This process turns vegetable oils into solids.

In the UK, it's never been a big problem since it's most common in fast food - which is not as popular as it is in America. In America, it did become a problem so the FDA began strict regulation of its use.

SATURATED FATS

These are fats most common in animal fat and animal products - milk, cheese, cream. It was first deemed unhealthy because it was thought that saturated fat raised cholesterol, and high cholesterol caused heart disease. The problem was all these assumptions were from animal studies, not human.

More recently, a broader look was taken at experimental data from different countries. From that, it was suggested that there is no link between heart disease and saturated fat!

Americas epidemic is most likely a factor of the fact that there is a huge obesity problem. So it's not what's eaten it is the humongous quantities that are eaten!

UNSATURATED FATS

Unsaturated fats fall into two categories monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are thought to be the "good fats" and are in most cooking oils.

Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both thought to help lower cholesterol. Studies have been done to back this up but if sat fats aren't "bad" can unsaturated fats be "good"?

OMEGA 3

As I'm sure you know, omega 3 is found in fish but it is also quite common in walnuts as well as several herbs and spices. Omega three fats are the only fats that have all the evidence pointing in their favour. This is most likely because people don't tend to overeat on fish. Omega 3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties which means better blood flow. This lead to a healthier heart and brain.

OMEGA 6

Now this isn't one I'd heard of before I began research for this article. Omega 6 is the opposite of omega 3 in that it has inflammatory properties. This can lead to heart problems if eaten in excess. There is research currently being done to find the perfect balance between them. Omega 6 is found in sunflower oil, corn oil and soybean oil. Now corn oil and soybean oil are not the most commonly found but they make are often used in animal feed. So if it is all the animals eat it is probably transferring through to the people who eat the animals!

I don't think there is a magic combination of all the different fats. Omega 3 is good for you and trans fats are bad for you. All others don't make a huge difference. Just keep enjoying all different foods in moderation, don't overeat and stay clear of fast food! (Though even fast food in moderation is fine!). And if you can eat some more fish that will definitely help you out!

🙂

Tabata Challenge Round up

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The Tabata challenge was I think the hardest challenge to date. It was mentally very difficult and physically even more difficult. Tabata sets are a form of high-intensity interval training, which I talked about in a previous post, and it focuses on a 4-minute workout. You chose a cardio based exercise, such as burpees, and you do 20 seconds full intensity, rest for 10 seconds and repeat for 8 rounds. The initial challenge was to do one of these every day for 2 weeks. After the first day, I decided to change this to 3 times a week for a month. Every day was likely going to lead to an injury.

The challenge was a really good one. Unfortunately, I got the flu at the end of the month which flared up my asthma so I didn't finish the final week of the challenge. On the days I did the Tabata it was definitely worth it because it took no time at all it really invigorated me for the rest of the day. I could feel the burn the next day even after just 4-minutes and I had that awesome endorphin high and energized feeling. The downside was it was very hard to stay motivated for. There were a couple of days I woke up especially tired and forcing myself to get psyched to do the Tabata was not easy. Forcing myself to do it anyway was a worthy exercise in itself as it's good to have that sort of discipline.Tabata Challenge Round Up

Here's what I did manage!

I would highly recommend it as a form of exercise so long as you can commit yourself to do it. I think the best way would be to plan ahead at the start of each week. Set the exact date and time, and decide what exercise you going to do. This way you leave no room for excuses not to do it you can get it over and done with. It's going to be something I do maybe once or twice a week. They are worth doing it's just difficult to stay motivated.

Next Challenge

All the challenges from now are going to be month long and for the next challenge, I'm going to do a 30-day sit. I'm going to meditate every day for a month. Meditation is something I've enjoyed in the past. It helped me out a lot during stressful times but it's not anything I've committed to a full routine. I think it would be well worth doing more often so I'm going to do it every day of this month.

I'll be doing a basic breathing meditation. To do this, you sit comfortably and breathe, nice and slow. For every breath in and out you count 1, and try to make it up to 10. Every time your mind wanders you start counting again.  While doing this you observe any thoughts that come to mind. Because your mind does wonder and when it does you acknowledge it and return to your breathing. I'm going to start at 10 minutes for the first week and increase this 5 minutes at a time for every week the passes. If you have never meditated before I would recommend going for a shorter time. 2 minutes is a lot better than nothing and you can increase it as the weeks go on.

I'm going to start at 10 minutes for the first week and increase this by 5 minutes for every week that passes.

Here is a great video showing you the basics of meditation for anyone who wants to join in!

🙂

10 Steps For A Good Night Sleep

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10 Steps to a good nights sleep

Be sure to pin this on Pinterest if you enjoyed!

1. KEEP WORK OUT THE BEDROOM

While at uni I had my work desk beside the bed during exam time. So when I got into bed at night I would see the desk and go into work mode. This does not lead to a good sleep.

2. BUY NEW PILLOWS

New pillows are just the best thing. Laying your head down on a brand new pillow is so comfortable you can't help but drift off!

3. SET A BED TIME

What do you have to gain by sitting on Facebook or watching one more episode of a show on Netflix? Have a clear going to bed and getting up time which gives you plenty of time to relax and fall asleep. I currently go to bed at 9-9.30pm read for a while and get up for 6 am. I get 7.5 hours of sleep and feel awesome. Which I did not think would be possible at 6 am! At the weekends, the only difference is I aim for an extra sleep cycle, so I wake up at 7.30. Some might think this is the height of boring, which I understand but if you do have trouble sleeping. Trust me, it's worth it.

4. NO SCREENS TWO HOURS BEFORE BED

The back lights from electronic devices suppress melatonin. This is the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. This means your body won't progress from light sleep to deep sleep and you'll have a disturbed sleep. This has been widely discussed but it is still important. You need to start doing it!

5. EAT A SMALL SNACK

I've found that if I eat something small before bed I wake up more refreshed. Ideally, you want something with fat and protein so it releases energy slower. Personally, I like a slice or two of peanut butter on toast.

6. HAVE A SMALL GLASS OF WATER

Drinking water makes you feel refreshed which causes you to relax. Once you're relaxed you can fall asleep! But don't drink too much or you'll be up all night peeing!

7. HAVE YOUR BED MADE AND READY

Having a nicely made bed makes getting into it way more satisfying. You can look at your bed and think “Yeah that looks comfy as anything! I can definitely sleep in there!” If it's a hodge podge of untucked sheet and duvet folded up at the bottom you will not feel inclined to jump in.

8. CLEAR YOUR MIND INTO A NOTEBOOK

Keep a notebook by the bed so if you get stuck thinking about something right it all down. Once it's down it's out of your head.

9. FOLLOW YOUR SLEEP CYCLE

Your sleep cycle is typically 90 minutes so 7.5 hours of sleep is the ideal. So do some self-observation and find out how long it takes you to fall asleep. Even if it takes you an hour set your alarm for 7.5+time to fall asleep. This way you wake up feeling ready for the day. Try an app that monitors your sleep cycle to find out what yours is. You feel groggy if you wake up mid sleep cycle so you want to wake up at the end.

10. IMAGINE YOURSELF ASLEEP

If you your mind wanders catch it and go “ah now I wouldn't be thinking while I sleep!” and start thinking about your breath. Slow your breathing down to it's sleeping rhythm and fully embrace your sleeping side. Let it overwhelm you until you wake up in the morning fully refreshed and ready to go.

Got any sleeping tips? I'd love to hear them on my Facebook page! 

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl - Gillian FlynnGone Girl by Gillian Flynn (affiliate link) is the first crime thriller I've ever read and I am very pleased to say I was not disappointed! I'm a little late to the party with this one since it is already come and gone in the cinema. But, It's not a movie I have seen so I was lucky enough to have the whole book as a complete surprise.

And a surprise it was! You cant guess what Flynn's next move is going to be. Every new piece of information throws the plot on it's head. She writes so convincingly, every detail has been so excruciatingly thought out, it's an incredible journey. You can tell she's done her homework because in the acknowledgements she thanks the police for answering the 43000 emails she sent with questions!

My favourite thing about the book is the how well developed the characters are. It's a strange thing because the characters are filled with flaws but you still find yourself empathizing with them. You get frustrated for them when things go awry, when things start going bad. However I suppose this is what makes them human and therefore relatable!

The book is split into alternating chapters between Amy who has disappeared and Nick her husband. At the end of every chapter there is the perfect cliffhanger. A line or two that makes the eyes widen and you rush into the next chapter. But you begin the next chapter and it follows a different character so you get reinvested with them to end with another cliffhanger! You really get pulled all the way through the book.

I would recommend Gone Girl (affiliate link) to anyone looking for some excitement. A good fiction book to make you think. I'm putting the film on my to watch list as well!

 

Now for the next book I'm taking a bit of a change of pace and reading The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R.Covey (affiliate link). I've heard about this book but not in great detail. The title is enough to draw me in though! This book was first published in 1989 and after reading the intro I can tell it is written by a scholar. It is written in very formal language compared to other self help related books I've read so it should be good!

If you've read either of these books please let me know what you think in the comments below!

A Guide to Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating is a simple yet important part of any mindfulness practise

Mindful eating is a simple yet important part of any mindfulness practise

Do you ever find yourself eating a packet of crisps, go to take another one, and realise the packet's empty? Annoying, isn't it?

If you start eating mindfully, this won't happen any more.

Eating mindfully means slowing down and being aware of what you're eating. It means taking time to notice the flavour, the smell and the texture.

For a while, I was working crazy hours at a bar. I finished a 13-hour shift at 5am, then I had to go back at midday for another 12 hours. As you'd expect, I spent my break crashed out in bed. My alarm went off at 11am and I was still exhausted. I remember turning it off but the next thing I knew, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal. I had no idea how I got there. I had lost 15 minutes. This was definitely the least mindful I have ever been!

I practise mindful eating, so when I started breakfast it brought me back to the present. This is the aim of living mindfully: pulling yourself back into the present moment at any time.

Still not sold? Mindful eating has heaps of great benefits.

IT STOPS OVEREATING

It's easy to keep dipping into the bowl of popcorn when you're sitting at home watching a movie. It happens! The TV's on. The brain's off. I was sitting on my computer one day and watched my wife head over to the snack cupboard and start rummaging. I was getting hungry myself so asked what she was getting to eat. She stopped and gave me a blank look. She didn't even know she was getting something to eat! It was entirely auto pilot.

IT IMPROVES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

If you eat mindfully, you learn to only eat when you're hungry. It might sound silly but it's an important skill! Food has a huge influence on your mind, body and mood, so it's great if you're aware of what you're eating. That way, you're in the driver's seat. You're in control. And you'll feel awesome – that's the cool bit. If you tend to be a fussy eater, it could help you learn to enjoy new foods and experience new things.

Mindful eating is also a great way of understanding what triggers your hunger. For example, I've learned that I tend to eat when I'm bored. Now when I get peckish, instead of grazing, I get myself a glass of water. More often than not, I'm actually thirsty, not hungry, so don't need to eat anything anyway. Two birds with one stone!

You aren't going to see the benefits of mindful eating straight away, but it's worth sticking with, trust me.

I even have some tricks to help you get started!

KEEP A FOOD DIARY

When you write down what you eat from day to day, you have a visual representation of your eating habits. This makes it so much easier to understand how certain foods affect you and highlights the snacks you scoff that you might not even notice otherwise.

BREATHE

Before you start eating, take three deep breaths. Use these seconds to appreciate the food in front of you. A lot of other people have a lot less to eat than you. It's a line used by mothers everywhere, but it's the truth. Be thankful.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Eating a bagel while squished into a bus seat isn't nice for anyone. It's important to take time out for your meals and where you decide to eat has a big impact on the way you feel about food. Set the table for yourself; get a drink; sit and down and enjoy your dinner. You've spent the time preparing it, so it makes sense that you should spend some time enjoying it. Another tip is to remove any distractions from around you while you eat. It works!

THE BIG FOUR

Every time you want something to eat, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Am I hungry?
  • AM I thirsty?
  • When was the last time I ate?
  • What was the last thing I ate?

If you had lunch an hour ago, you're probably not hungry now. Try having a glass of water instead. If you still want something to eat after that, then go for it. At the other end of the scale, if you haven't eaten for several hours, then make sure you have something substantial – you probably need it.

Try to think about what you're feeling, since it'll help you settle into a better routine.

Do you have any mindful eating tips? Leave me a comment below letting me know how you enjoy your food.

🙂