Mindful Eating Habits

Let’s accept that due to our hectic lifestyles we have forgotten how to eat the right way and respect our food. Bloating, inflammation, feeling of heaviness, lower abdomen pain, gassiness and low energy levels are the symptoms which all of us Cysters could easily relate to and we mostly feel such symptoms on a daily basis. But I’m sure it will make sense when I say that Mindless eating could be one of the major factors for such symptoms, as mindless eating could cause digestion problems, and which could lead to toxic deposits in our body. Mindless eating could include bad eating habits, eating at the wrong time, overeating often, eating food that our body doesn’t want!

If we want to heal our PCOS naturally, food can be a great medicine. But we must learn to be MINDFUL of the how, what and when factor of the Food we consume. While eating how often do we realise that:

  • Am I chewing my food properly so that the digestion of my food is good or am I just gobbling it up in a hurry only to complain of stomach ache?
  • Am I being conscious while eating of how much food my stomach could take in or I would just over stuff myself?
  • Am I aware of how my body is reacting about certain foods; I’m I having too much Chapatis making me feel bloating, shall I have more veggies instead?

In fact, one of the studies [Raja-Khan N, Agito K, Shah J, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for overweight/obese women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome: design and methods of a pilot randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2015;41:287–297. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2015.01.021] has shown how Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy  that includes ‘mindful eating’ as one of the stress reducing factors could lead to favorable changes in blood pressure, blood glucose, psychological distress and quality of life in PCOS and non-PCOS women
Eating mindfully is about bringing full awareness to each plate or bite of food. We must consider putting away other distractions and pay attention to your food, savor each bite , check in with your body to see how you are feeling. Have you had enough? Do you need more? Is it time to stop? [Nelson JB. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectr. 2017;30(3):171–174. doi:10.2337/ds17-0015]
Another study [Krug I, Giles S, Paganini C. Binge eating in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: prevalence, causes, and management strategies. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2019;15:1273–1285. Published 2019 May 16. doi:10.2147/NDT.S168944] showed one-third of women with PCOS demonstrated binge eating behaviour which can be associated with at least 3 of these factors: eating rapidly; eating until you’re uncomfortably full; eating large amounts when you’re not hungry; eating alone out of embarrassment; or feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after eating.

So if you are not already practicing Mindful eating, would urge you to please start by including the below practices in your daily routine:

  • Eating at the right time. Avoid late lunches which could result in over bingeing and messing up your insulin levels.
  • Stocking up PCOS friendly snacks ( eg: an apple or nuts with makhanas) in your handbag can come to your rescue in case you are stuck at work and cannot get to eat,
  • Take small bites and chew your food until it becomes gooey in your mouth. Remember the digestion process starts from our mouth. The more you chew the less burdened your stomach will be to break down the food we eat.
  • Watch out for the portions you eat for each meal and try enjoying your each meal rather than rushing it.
  • Include more and more fresh plant based foods that will nourish your body and avoid anything which is processed or comes out of a packet.

The list could be endless but I hope this small list and kickstart your Mindful Eating habits. I have already started to watch out how much I chew, share with us your progress and thoughts on mindful eating.

Happy PCOS Healing!
Nidhi S.