These Mindful Eating Habits Will Help Relieve Stress

Mindful eating has gotten a bad reputation. It’s much more than restricting yourself from your favorite foods or denying yourself when you go out to eat — it’s a practice of being present in the moment. In other words, it’s about being aware of how we feel when we eat. Because who doesn’t want to actually take the time to get more enjoyment from the food that they’re eating?

And while it’s great in helping you feel physically healthier, one of the best benefits is that it is good for your mental health as well. 

Insert Koya Webb. Webb is an internationally recognized yoga teacher and celebrity holistic health coach who grounds herself in healthy habits to ensure she maintains mindfulness in her daily flow, no matter what the day brings! For ESSENCE, the health and wellness expert shares a few tips and tricks to help you build a better relationship with food, and ensure you’re fueling your best self.

What are the benefits of intentional and mindful eating?

Benefits of mindful eating are the ability to enjoy your food with all your senses. Before eating pause and take in the smell, observe the textures, take in the presentation, how does the food make you feel. Some foods give you energy while other foods can drain your energy. Food can be so nurturing and I think it’s important to eat with intention. When most people eat they eat to consume, and just fill up, there is no savor. Mindfulness adds the element of savoring and when you savor you become aware and oftentimes that awareness leads to a deep sense of gratitude.

How can we all keep energy levels at 100 percent throughout the day—especially in the era of COVID-19, with many of us spending time at home in front of computer screens all day?

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Honoring what your 100 looks like should be the intention and goal. Making time for sleep, work, and play is the best way to keep energy balanced. This year has been challenging. I think taking off the cape sometimes and allowing ourselves to show up as our most authentic selves is the best solution to overwhelm and burnout. With many people spending so much time at the computer, I’m starting off my yoga and meditation sessions with eye yoga to relieve the stress and tension in and around the eye area. It’s an instant relief for such an overworked area of the body. I also recommend having healthy snacks throughout the day like a handful of almonds. Consuming snacks that are high in fiber, offer clean protein and ‘good’ fats are great for keeping energy levels balanced.

What are a few tips that we all can use to shift our mindsets to view food as meaningful fuel that can improve overall wellbeing?

Eat for energy not for therapy. Comfort food is fine occasionally but unless it’s healthy comfort food it shouldn’t be eaten every meal of the day. Eat away from your workspace or computer. You digest your food better when you focus on it and try not to multitask your meals. Pack snacks like almonds in your purse or bag for a quick and healthy energy boost when you need it.

What are a few ways that Black women can maintain mindfulness daily?

Black women can maintain mindfulness daily by waking up with gratitude and prioritizing themselves before meeting the needs of everyone else; it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. I share a schedule template in my book Let Your Fears Make You Fierce. Wake up, look in the mirror and express love for every body part. Know that your natural hair and skin color is beautiful. Find videos and pics of women who look like you and embrace their natural state. Save these inspirations in your phone and create vision boards to remind you how amazing your natural beauty is.