The Best Ways to Support A Friend/Significant Other Who is Eating More Mindfully
Do you know YOUR love language? You can use this chart to help your family and friends give you the ideal support when trying to eat healthier.
Adapted from the 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
Have you read The Five Love Languages? It is one of my favorite relationship books. It helps you to know what makes you feel loved in a relationship (with a friend or significant other) and how to show the person you are with that you care about them in the way they understand and speaks to them. Interestingly, we often speak a different language than our significant other. We give them what we ourselves want—not necessarily what works for them. The key to support—figuring out your friend/significant other’s ideal language.
The 5 Love Languages is a great model for thinking about how to help and show care to someone who is trying to eat healthier and more mindfully. Let’s face it. That is not an easy task. We need all the encouragement we can get. Use the chart above to help you identify what you would want from your friend/significant other and how you can best support others. Feel free to pass along this chart.
Overall, my advice is to be mindful of what you need. Know your language and communicate it clearly to those who love and support you! They won’t always get it “right” and that is okay. Carefully choose those who have good intentions at heart.
If you want more support and ideas, see 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food for ideas. Don’t forget to check out the bonuses items available for a limited time for the upcoming sequel, 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.
Do you get to work in the morning and feel hungry before you even start your day—even though you just ate breakfast before you left. Many clients ask me what are some of the best foods to help reduce hunger and make you feel more satisfied.
A recent study in the journal, Appetite, suggests that one of the best breakfast foods is spinach! Popeye was onto something! In their study, researchers gave participants a drink of spinach water in the morning (specifically, thylakoids, found in spinach which is the green-plant membranes) or a placebo (no spinach). This thylakoid substance in spinach is reported to release the satiety hormone GLP-1. In other words, it slows down digestion, which helps you to feel fuller longer.
The results? Amazing! Those who had the spinach compound before breakfast experienced a reduction of hunger and increased satiety over the whole day. The participants experienced feeling more satiated 60 minutes after breakfast and less hungry 180 minutes later. Also, during the day, they wanted sweets less and ate fewer tasty foods.
In addition, one cup of spinach contains an amazing amount of benefits including protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, and folate and is only 27 calories. Magnesium helps lower blood pressure which makes it a great food for buffering stress.
The take home message: If you struggle with hunger in the morning and craving sweets, consider starting your day off with a spinach smoothie (see links here for recipes). Blending up the spinach helps to release the compound. You can also sneak some spinach into your eggs or a breakfast sandwich to also help keep your hunger in check during the day.
For more tips on soothing yourself without food, see 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food
Stenblom EL1, Egecioglu E1, Erlanson-Albertsson C2. Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women. Appetite. 2015 Apr 17. pii: S0195-6663(15)00197-X. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.051.
It’s not easy to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. When you have a craving for something sweet and gooey like a chocolate chip cookie or a cinnamon roll it could be:
A) Your stomach’s way of gently reminding you that it’s time to refuel (carb cravings often come from being overly hungry!).
B) A signal that you are bored and in need of a distraction.
How can you tell? These two hunger pangs often feel exactly the same as I explain in detail in my new book 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (Pre-order bonuses are still available). It is like when the eye doctor asks you which image is clearer, “A” or “B” and they look exactly the same.
Here are four questions to ask yourself when you need to spot the difference between an emotional tug for comfort and a genuine need for nourishment. The good news is that with some practice, you can become an expert at decoding the meaning behind your cravings.
Do I want to eat for energy to fuel my body to make it through the day or am I looking for relief or a sense of safety/security?
Test: Place your hand on the part of your body that needs attention. Does it go to your stomach because it is rumbling? Or, does it go to your brain that feels dull and bored?
Fix: Aim to satisfy the part of your body that your hand rests on. If your brain is bored, give it some mentally stimulating material. If your hand traveled to your shoulders, lift and release your shoulders five times to relax your muscles. If it lands on your stomach, mindfully choose a nourishing food.
Am I eating in response to physical hunger (rumbling stomach, low energy, etc.) or am I feeling scared, frustrated, overwhelmed or happy?
Test: Ask yourself, “How physically hungry am I on a scale from 1-10 (1=starving, 5=satiated 10=stuffed)?” If you are a 1-5, it’s likely that you do need something to eat. If so, that is okay. If you answer 6-10, it’s likely that food isn’t going to help a bit.
Fix: Try eating a Mandarin orange. They are a great food to help curb emotional eating and to de-stress. It is easy to peel and the segments are perfectly portioned to mindfully eat one at a time. The sweet flavor is satisfying and research has shown that citrus aromas can be calming. Also, a Mandarin orange gives a little boost of vitamin C, just what you need when stressed or emotional.
Am I choosing nutritious rich foods or sugary, fatty salty foods?
Test: A truly hungry person, will eat a large range of foods that will quickly quiet a rumbling stomach. Someone with an emotionally driven craving often only craves a specific type of food or taste — not just chocolate, but chocolate with caramel. If only a salty snack will do, it’s likely that this is an urge for comfort.
Fix: It’s important to keep good tasting, healthy snacks handy. Often, people keep diet foods around that are bland and don’t taste good. Kick up the taste of vegetables with hummus, sprinkle yogurt with some nuts, drizzle chocolate on berries, add a dash of spice to your vegetable soup, etc.
Am I building a healthy relationship with food vs. anxiety, guilt or fear.
Test: Before you eat, ask yourself how you will likely feel a minute after you finish this bite. If a negative emotion springs to mind, take a pause. Too often we wait until after we eat to check in with the emotional impact of what we consume.
Fix: Mindful eating can help you build a healthy and balanced relationship with food. Use the 5 S’s of Mindful Eating no matter what you are eating 1) Sit down 2) Slowly Chew 3) Sense—taste, smell, listen 4) Savor-enjoy 5) Smile (pause before taking another bite). Remember it’s okay to eat the foods you love, as long as you do it mindfully!
To learn more truths and actionable tips for coping with comfort eating, see my new book, 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. I have some amazing pre-order bonuses available right now.
This is a list of 40 Mindful Eating Mantras. Mantras are statements that you repeat to yourself to keep your mind pointed in a helpful direction. Many of these mantras are contributed by mindful eating marathoners (see www.facebook/com.eatdrinkmindful for info and to contribute yours to the next list) Click here to download this list MindfulMantras. Great for hanging up on a bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator door!