Mindful eating is a practice stemming from Buddhist philosophies that promotes self-awareness and self-love and involves eating only what our bodies respond to positively.
No matter if you’re a professional athlete or regular workout enthusiast, chances are, if you’re dedicated to improving your fitness performance, you know that diet plays an important role in getting you the results you want.
Many athletes are fixated on consuming a specific number of calories per day or a set proportion of proteins, fats and carbs, no matter the circumstances or how they feel mentally or physically.
I am no stranger to this myself. I have, on one too many occasions, forced myself to finish a meal or cook something I didn’t actually want to eat, telling myself I needed more fuel for my workout, or that I haven’t gotten enough protein for the day.
This way of thinking is unproductive at best and unhealthy at worst.
Many studies have shown that more is not always better. Overeating, or not caring about what you eat, often leads to underperformance and/or weight gain. Just because you burn more calories exercising doesn’t mean you should eat more. Everyone has unique nutritional needs, and no matter your goals or workout intensity/duration, your body will tell you what it requires.
I’m not saying to toss your diet plan out the window, but be open to experimenting with what feels right to your body and realize that your nutritional demands change regularly as a result of hormonal fluctuations, your workout program and stress levels. Your athletic performance will likely improve tremendously when combining mindful eating with existing scientific nutrition knowledge.