Words by Samantha Ickes

It’s 10:30 p.m. and a big bowl of pumpkin ice cream topped with whipped cream sounds delicious. My mouth begins to water at the thought of how good it would taste after a long night of studying for my Modern America exam. As I walk toward the fridge, ready to give in to temptation, I decide against it.

Being mindful in what and when we eat is just as important as committing to a yoga routine. Emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems in times of stress when you just need something sweet for a pick-me-up.

Developing a routine with your diet to correspond with your yoga practice can be beneficial for weight loss and feeling more energized throughout the day.

Realizing the difference between when your body is genuinely hungry versus emotionally hungry can be a challenge. Emotional eating can be a way to find comfort or relief. It can also be a way to reward yourself—similar to how I wanted to reward myself for all the studying I had done.

As I walk back to the living room and away from the fridge, I decide to roll out my yoga mat and do a quick 10-minute sequence to stretch out my back before hitting the books again.

Doing something productive like exercising, working on homework, going for a walk or reading can help distract you from the temptation of binge eating.

Buddhists have developed “mindful eating” with the goal of reconnecting us with the experience of eating and enjoying our food. The end result of practicing mindful eating comes with satisfying physical signs of hunger rather than satisfying emotional hunger.

I found a few tips on HuffPost Healthy Living on how to be mindful when eating. The number one tip was to eat slower.

When I have half an hour to eat lunch before heading to class, sometimes I don’t have time to take my time when eating my food—especially when I have to wait 10 minutes or more for my food. Taking time during the day to eat food at a slower pace instead of scarfing it down is the first step toward mindful eating.

The next thing HuffPost mentioned was savoring the silence. Eating without distractions can help you determine when you are full. Jenni Grover from Mother Nature Network says mealtime should be an electronic-free zone –free of cellphones, tablets and TV.

I immediately flash back to all the times I’ve eaten while writing papers, watching Netflix and texting back a friend all at once.

As I looked for more information about mindful eating, I found a 10-week mindful diet plan for healthy eating on Yoga Journal’s website. While I’m not convinced I need to go through a 10-week process of monitoring the food I eat and how much I eat, I thought trying the first week might help set the tone without delving into a two-month commitment.

Truth is, I love junk food. I love ice cream and fudge rounds and Caramello candy bars. I can barely go a day without giving in to the temptation of sweets–let alone 10 weeks.

As a college student struggling to stop myself from indulging in comfort food, I don’t think a mindful eating challenge is for me. Instead, I think avoiding tempting foods is the best route to mindful eating. So today I leave you with three points of advice:

  • Take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy your food.
  • Avoid eating junk food as an outlet for comfort and rewards. Limit the amount of unhealthy foods you keep in the house or residence hall.
  • Try doing a 10-minute yoga practice when you feel the need for a binge eating session.
  • Good luck with your practice, and check back next Wednesday for more Healthy Hints.