Food is medicine for our body. It is extremely important for us to nourish our body with healthy, nutritious food all through our lives. It is especially important for new moms to ensure they eat food which provides them with the required nutrients and helps heal their body.
Most mothers go through a difficult time postpartum. They are healing, their bodies have changed and they now have a human being dependent on them – all of this can lead to binge-eating, mindless eating and further lead to weight issues and body-image concerns.
Some issues new moms can face nutritionally are:
- Remembering to eat and eat on time. Or, even eat enough.
- Eating healthy and not snacking on junk food constantly
- Filling up on empty calories
- Eating in a hurry without paying attention to the food
If you are a new mom, then one of the best ways to nourish your body is to practice mindful eating.
So, what is mindful eating or mindfulness-based approach to eating?
Mindfulness means being aware of your present moment and focusing on the work we are doing right now. Mindful eating means being aware of what you are eating, focusing on the act of eating and eating thoughtfully, paying full attention to your food.
How will mindful eating help you in your fourth trimester?
The benefits of mindful eating are immense during the fourth trimester. Mindfulness-based approach to eating will:
- Help promote better digestion
- Cut down on overeating and binge-eating
- Reduce stress
- Help you enjoy your food
- Establish a healthy relationship with food
- Help you eat more nutritious food
- Help with weight-loss
- Help your understand correctly when you are full and when you are hungry
HOW TO PRACTISE MINDFUL EATING
It will take time to master the art of mindfulness, so do not give up if you are unable to get it right immediately. As a new mom, you are constantly on your toes and in a hectic pace – slowly down will be an alien concept!
Start with a quick breathing exercise before you start eating. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in and breathe out, paying attention only to your breath. Once you’ve done it 5-6 times, open your eyes and look at your food. Use your senses – notice the colour and the texture of your food, how does your food smell? Is it hot? Cold?
Then taste your food – how does it taste? Listen to the sound of each bite in your mouth. Pay attention to how your jaws and tongue move when you eat. And, ultimately swallow your food and feel it go down your throat.
Make sure you do not have distractions around when you eat (I know! I know! You are a new mom, and half of your mind will always be on your baby, at all times!) But, try to shut down your phone or turn off TV when eating, put your baby down for a nap or a bit of tummy time so that for few minutes you are aware of what you eat.
Start with small portions of food or even if you start with a larger portion, it’s not necessary to finish the entire food following this approach (at least to begin with). Once you master the technique of mindful-eating, you will be able to finish your entire meal this way.
Assess your hunger at the beginning, middle and towards the end of your meal. This will help you learn about the way your body signals. Also if you want to know how to be healthy while pregnant then CLICK HERE
MINDFUL EATING TIPS:
- Eat fresh, real food. Try to cut down on processed and packaged food.
- Listen to your body when it says you are hungry – being a new mom means you need to do lots of work. So, listen to your body’s cue, whenever it says you’re hungry. This will help you cut down on gluttonous eating.
- When you begin mindful-eating, try (yeah, might not be always possible, but try) eating alone and in silence.
- Be sure to stop all activities when you are eating – this means no reading, watching, writing or talking to someone.
- Don’t be too strict with yourself. This takes time and practice and as a new mom, you don’t have the luxury of time (or, energy). So, take it slow and go easy on yourself.
A healthy postpartum food plate should include a good portion of protein (meat, paneer, eggs, and grains) and healthy fat (ghee, nut butters, regular butter) and some amount of carbs as well (lentils, sweet potato, nuts and peas). You need to pay attention to your gut health also, so be sure to include probiotics in your diet (yoghurt, buttermilk, kimchi, and miso). Bye the way if you want some insights into postpartum problems then CLICK HERE
Let us know if any of these tips helped you and also share your tips with us.