Food can affect our energy, sleep, mood and emotions. Our gut is our second brain and produces different chemicals that affect many processes in our brain and body. By checking in before and after eating certain foods or meals, you can become more aware of its effects on you. The timing of meals, as well as the actual foods eaten, can all have different effects. Using a small notebook can help you track your experiences over time to allow you to further dial in on what makes you feel your best. You can go into as much or as little detail as you like.
For one day, mentally check in (or use a notebook) and assess your current energy level and mood before and after every meal and snack. Notice if you feel more tired or more energized after consuming certain meals. Pay attention to how you feel before and after drinking a bottle of water first thing in the morning. Feel if certain foods bring more calm or anxiety. The more you practice, the easier it will be discern changes. Don’t go into the challenge looking for anything wrong or bad and don’t expect a “bad” food to make you feel worse. Just be open and notice what actually happens.
After you’ve increased your awareness and learn how food affects you, you likely noticed some trends. Maybe when you skip breakfast you are more hungry at night. If you eat a really heavy meal you notice less energy after eating.
Now, choose to eat with an intention. Knowing how food affects you individually, you can now choose to eat or not eat things based on how you want to feel. If you want to feel energized in the afternoon, set an intention to eat a lighter meal at lunch that will leave you feeling light and clear. If you are trying to lose weight, set the intention to eat a breakfast high in protein to help control hunger throughout the day and set yourself up for success.
Choose one meal to eat intentionally every day for one week. Your intention may be to have more vegetables at lunch time, to eat mindfully at dinner, or not skip breakfast. Make it something that will specifically help you reach your goals and feel the way you want to feel.