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Mindful Eating

Health coach Ethan Quant, of Elite Wellness Solutions, has succeeded in his weight loss journey and now wants to share his methods with the Bahamas in an effort to foster a culture of wellness and conquer the obesity epidemic.

I remember when I was 306 pounds and really tired of all of the fad diets. I really wanted to get away from the whole dieting thing and focus on eating healthy. But I really had no idea what that was or where to start.

Then someone with brighter ideas than I had suggested that I keep a food journal. Reluctantly, I started what I initially thought was a ridiculous process of writing down what I ate. Conveniently, I only wrote down the good stuff and omitted the food sources of my unhealthy lifestyle. After a while, I came to the conclusion that my efforts were pointless. Then I remembered something from my days working in the banking industry – I really couldn’t improve my situation if I wasn’t honest with myself and followed the process. After being hit with this epiphany, I started journalling again.

I recorded everything I ate and drank – from quantities to the times, as well as what I was thinking and feeling. It was so detailed. Literally, I recorded if I ate something as insignificant as a breath mint. I took this detail-oriented approach because I really wanted to grasp how much food I ate so that I could see exactly where I could make changes. At the time, I didn’t know that I was setting the foundation for “mindful eating”. I just knew I wanted to do better and this seemed like a logical first step to moving from dieting to eating healthy.

Mindful eating is a process and journey, a self-study of understanding your thinking patterns, emotional moods, appetites and habits related to food without judgement. Nothing is off limits. There is no good or bad – zero judgments. Truthfully, it is merely a process that causes you to look inward and allows one to reach a place of deeper understanding of self. Undoubtedly, it was a rewarding period of discovery where I not only found ways to help myself and improve my life, but also realised where these principles could be replicated and shared with others.

What amazed me so much about journalling was how much I ate out of habit or boredom. There were times that I would eat because I was bored. A cookie here, a bag of chips there, a plate of curried chicken and white rice, cole slaw and potato salad just because it was in the kitchen. It was truly an unhealthy place of self-indulgence that I am not proud of to this day. However, I knew I could be better. More than anything, I wanted to do better and being face-to-face with the challenge that my diet presented gave me great motivation.

I started becoming aware of what I was eating and the added level of accountability to my journal made me think twice about what I put in my mouth, when and why I put it in there. I still very much practice mindful eating today. It has become a part of my lifestyle.

Fun fact: the word diet is taken from the Greek word “Diaita”, which means “way of living or lifestyle”.

On your road to wellness, here’s a word of advice – dump the diets and just use mindful eating as the foundation for developing healthier eating habits.

To start the process of mindful eating, here are some key questions we must ask ourselves:

• Why am I eating?

• When am I eating?

• What am I eating?

• How much am I eating?

• Where am I using the energy from my food?

Remember to be honest with yourself as you answer these questions. There is no right or wrong answer. This process is simply just to raise awareness so that we can move into a better direction of sustained success with our health, wellness and fitness journey.

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