Mindfulness. Let’s be honest, we are all very aware of the importance of mindfulness in our lives. However, mindfulness is a practice that needs to be cultivated – and what a better way to do so, if not including it in every aspect of our lives (yes, you can be very mindful when you are flossing).

We asked Stephanie, founder of Mindful Bites, how she incorporates mindfulness in the different areas that us, bloggers and influencers, will have to deal with on a daily basis.

Stephanie was brought up in a family with a long tradition of food in Sicily, Stephanie started her career in London, working in investment banking for 15 years. During her time in the corporate world, she noted striking differences between eating behavioural patterns in the workplace and what she had experienced whilst growing up; the relationship with food seemed somehow distorted, with very extreme definitions of good versus bad food, allowed and forbidden foods, almost obsessive sequences of restrictive dietary regimes, all destined to fail.

Her natural entrepreneurial spirit, combined with her passion for food and healthy nutrition, gave her the impetus to create a disruptive brand which could be at the forefront of a new trend of intuitive mindful eating.

Mindful Bites is the result of a search for a radically new relationship with food which can combine the pleasure of eating with healthy eating, based on awareness of foods and appreciation of their benefits not just on our individual health but the health of the ecosystem, by creating more meaningful human connections and more sustainable lifestyles.

How can we be mindful when working out?

If working out feels like a painful activity, then it is a way of muting the pain. 

At times, we just need maybe a bit of music for choreography, just to add a beat to the session.  If getting distracted is a regular thing, it may just mean that the workout is getting somehow repetitive and not engaging our desire to test our own limits – def time to spice it all up!

I take a slightly different approach from what is expected to be mindful. 

Most people would probably say that low-intensity activities are the mindful ones.

I would say that you can be mindful doing pretty much anything, for me, it is more the ability to connect with the present moment and feel the emotions of that moment. 

Sometimes you can be doing a hard HIIT session and be mindful in that session, with music pumping and an instructor shouting – you can still hear yourself breathing, you can still feel your body moving, you can still be grateful for those muscles which are allowing us the freedom and power of movement, you can still accept the current limits without judging yourself.

Music, for example, can be a great way to ‘trigger’ consciousness, i.e. making us snap out of the noise clouding our thinking and judgement and find connection.  It works for some, it doesn’t for others.

I have developed an ability to check my intentions before committing to any actions.  So I would say it all depends on our intentions; sometimes working out is just a way of shaking up the body (for example if we have a stationary job) and a way to find enjoyment, so music may very well be part of this intention. 

If the intention is to find stillness, the music may create an unwanted distraction; what is the intention behind the workout?

Any activity which is appropriate to our body, its structure, its capabilities can be a restorative one. 

I will make a confession: yoga is not for me.

I derive no pleasure from it and during each yoga session – all I think is of being somewhere sprinting and feeling my heart pumping like crazy. 

Should I force myself to persevere in an attempt to become a yogi? Well not really: my body is happy with other challenges and activities and I embrace that.

I probably have more muscle mass than I had wished for, fashionable now less so when I was growing up, but it is my body and I have to embrace its capabilities and recognise its limits. Next lifetime I will come back, light as a butterfly, and do yoga, probably even ballet… for this round of cards, my body and I shall stick to HIIT!