Mindful Eating blog
One would hope as time moves on and we all become more aware of the obesity crisis in our country, that we would all take more interest and attention in what we place in our mouths throughout the day. Unfortunately for so many folks, eating is such a automatic habit, one where there is no indication of belly hunger at all. Be honest with yourself, did your stomach rumbling indicate that is was time toeat your last meal or was it something else? Perhaps an advertisement on the television, boredom, being with others who were eating? Mindful eating is such a powerful antidote to the unconscious fill- our- face with whatever food is at the ready.
So, I get it, you might be thinking you hardly have time for all the demands in your life. How could there possibly be time to tackle this longstanding relationship with eating. The good news is that it can be accomplished in small steps. I often recommend my clients to start small. Perhaps they select one meal a day to slow down, notice the level of hunger before eating, get curious about what they are hungry for and then sit down with their selected food to savor the experience of eating. Our culture is fast paced and too many of us grab and go when it comes to our meals.
What kind of relationship do you have with food and your body right now? Are you always struggling to eat less, keep away from certain foods? Do you criticize yourself constantly for how you look, berate yourself for not having more willpower. Do these thoughts lead to an easy relationship with food? Or does just the opposite happen? The more you battle with yourfood and your body, the more you find yourself grazing through a concoction of food that isn’t really all that appealing. It is time to stop the madness and relearn how to nourish ourselves with food that satisfies.
Jan Chozen Bays writes about the seven kinds of hunger which include eye hunger, mouth hunger, nose hunger, emotional hunger, mind hunger , cellular and stomach hunger? We need to tame five of the hunger gremlins and eat from a place of stomach and cellular hunger. Food is so closely equated with comfort and love. For many of us, if we were upset as children, our caregivers gave us something to eat. If we were celebrating an occasion, chances were good that food would be a central player in the gathering. Actually from birth to death, can you think of any gathering that does not include food? So the goal of aligning with our true hunger can be quite an accomplishment indeed. On any given day, we all have been bombarded with co-workers’ treats up for grabs in the break room, the constant food ads at night on tv while we unwind after our full days of work, errands and the like. So what does it take to rise above the constant onslaught of mouth savory choices being touted about all day long
Mindfulness is the solution. The simple or not so simple task of bringing awareness into the present moment with non-judgment. As we begin to pay attention, we may be horrified at how much time is taken up with thinking, planning, avoiding, and succumbing to the food traps that we each have to maneuver every day.
So, bringing onboard the spirit of compassion along with the willingness to develop a healthier relationship with food and our bodies is essential. I can pretty much promise you that if you slow down enough and let your taste buds guide you, you find a natural shift away from the fast foods of highly processed ingredients to a wholesome list of nourishing staples. As I write this blog, we are in the middle of summer in CT. Farmer’s markets are the best way to stock up on the freshest local produce. If you have time and space for a home garden, nothing beats plucking a red ripe tomato off the vine and biting into its fresh and savory goodness
Our quick fix social norms are not going to serve you in transforming your relationship with food. Rather, a patient and slower approach helps create lasting change. Decide which meal of the day you have more time to spend on. Then take it day by day, but commit to a week of paying daily attention to your food choices, your hunger, your beginning sense of fullness at this one meal each day. Choose foods with various textures, colors, aromas and tastes. As you sit down with your plated food, take a moment to silently thank all the hands that were involved to getting your food to your table. These include the grower, harvester, trucker, grocer etc. At your first bite, take notice of the burst of flavors. Place your fork down between bites if possible. Enjoy…