As someone who works, lives, and breathes fitness (as both as an instructor and on the business side of things), you might imagine that I field a lot of questions about nutrition. While not a nutritionist, I do know that more than 50% of health & wellness has to do with how you eat, with fitness being an integral lifestyle component.
I also believe in the concepts of moderation and “mindful eating” when it comes to nutrition, where you don’t limit yourself strictly to only certain food types and enjoy everything in balance, taking in all five senses while partaking in a meal. This is not to say that I weirdly waft the aroma of the food in front of me or touch everything before I eat it. This is to say, however, I attempt to be mindful of what I’m eating and try to maximize the sensory cues I obtain from the meal (smell, touch, taste, hear, see). It can be hard to practice at times when I’m scarfing down my Chipotle salad in front of my laptop, but it is something I want to get better at in eliminating outside distractions when eating my meals.
I think the advent of Instagram is a great way to practice mindful eating, if only for the visual appreciation of the five senses. It is a great medium to document what you are putting into your mouth. I don’t want to become that irritating Instagram poster that overshares every single morsel placed in his/her mouth, but I would like to memorialize/record what are especially significant meals to me, or my favorites. In this sense, it might be helpful to both you and those you share with in understanding the visual cues of a great meal. Also, it is a great way to tab a meal that you cooked and really enjoyed, to remember to cook it for next time.
A few notes on etiquette, though, if you choose to utilize Instagram as a way to practice mindful eating:
(1) Make sure you don’t make others feel inferior/bad about themselves in the process, if you are a strict health nut. In other words, that is great that you are only eating a bowl of vegetables for dinner, but recognize that hashtags such as #onlywaytoeat and #sonutritious can make you appear like you have a “health nut halo” or superiority complex. I think Instagram is a great way to help spur friends towards healthier habits through social media contagion, but don’t be that person that makes other people feel bad.
(2) Document only the most special of all meals. And not every morsel. I think this tip, in addition to observing normal frequency of updates, is key to understanding what generally makes your mouth water. Once you accumulate a collection, you will perhaps start to recognize a pattern that you like certain foods. (Like for me on my @sulubrious Instagram, that is soups!) And if you are okay with that pattern, stick with it — but if not, reexamine your eating habits and check out what else you can incorporate in.
(3) Be honest about your indulgences. People will appreciate it. Not everyone is a perfect eater, and anyone who claims to be is lying. You are more “real” for enjoying that indulgent piece of pie every once in a while or grabbing that deliciously strong drink at happy hour. Don’t try to paint yourself as someone who only eats rabbit food, as who wants to be friends with someone who only snacks on Kashi? By also recording and remembering your indulgences, you are likely to be more mindful about the next time you give in to that same indulgence.
“If you don’t like pho, pho-get-about-it!”