You worked on that project all day. You promised yourself a reward if you finished today. Now it’s time to kick back and relax. Maybe you’ve been craving a favorite treat for a special time like this. You’re looking forward to that special expresso, or fresh strawberries, a piece of chocolate or those cookies that you love. You take the first bite. Yum! The second bite. Still delicious! You flip on the TV and begin surfing through the channels until something catches your eye. Suddenly you look down. Where did you enjoyable treat go? You barely even remember eating it! Distress and unhappiness set in, so you head back to the kitchen to get “just a little more.” Next thing you know, you’ve eaten more than you ever planned to! And that little voice inside starts beating you up.
Eating should be something that is pleasing. When did it become such a common cause of unhappiness for so many people? Is our unhappiness really because of the scale, or does it go deeper than that? The deeper dilemma is rooted in the mind. This is why so many people carry on with the out-of-balance eating even after weight loss! There is a void of awareness of the messages our body is trying to send us about hunger and satisfaction. This is where mindful eating enters.
So what is this mindfulness anyway? Mindfulness is merely awareness without criticism or judgment. It means intentionally paying attention to what is taking place to you, both inside and out. So in mindful eating, food is purely food. It is not good or bad. When eating mindfully, we don’t compare ourselves to anyone else or judge ourselves in any way. It is experiencing food more strongly, specifically the pleasure of it. When you eat mindfully, you are more apt to be able to be gratified with much smaller quantities and choose foods that help your body realize that you feel more energized after eating a fruit and some nuts for a snack than after eating a fudge ice cream bar.
If that seems like a lot to do at once when you’ve never tried to eat mindful, or you just don’t even know where to start, here are some starter ideas:
- Do you feel hungry? If so, how do you know?
- In what part of your body do you “feel hungry?”
- What does half full feel like? Three quarters full?
- Notice the aroma and color of the food before you eat it.
- Think about the temperature and texture as you chew.
- *What impulses begin to come into your mind? Do you want to turn the TV on, surf the web, or read a book?
- What emotions are you feeling? Are you beginning to feel lonely, sad or anxious?
Once you start to notice some emotions, which can only occur if you aren’t distracted, you will start to see how eating disturbs your mood and how emotions, such as anxiety, impact your eating. Then you can start to change these old emotional patterns that are trapping you.
As you start to recognize the times that you are not eating because you are physically hungry, but because of emotions, you can begin to stop eating and ideally find a better way to deal with those emotions. That is where I come in. I am trained to help you figure out all those feelings that are eating you, and more importantly, why you are using food to comfort yourself so you don’t feel the pain of those emotions. Give me a call so we can together get you to your healthy body, mind and spirit.
Deb Baldwin, LIMHP
1001 South 70th St.
Lincoln, NE 68510
(402) 325-0117 x 7