Research and our own experience teach us that people who have a peaceful, workable relationship with food don’t stress over it. They simply do four main things over and over again. These things are their lifestyle…
1. When your body needs fuel, feed it. Wait for a hunger cue before you eat. If you are not physically hungry, go do something else.
2. Choose food you and your body will enjoy. Choose food that will taste satisfying right now and serve you and your health in the future.
3. Connect with your food while you’re eating it. Savor your meal mindfully for 20 minutes. This is very satisfying and keeps us from feeling the need to prowl for more.
4. Walk away when your body tells you you’re not hungry anymore. Stop eating. Leave the rest behind or save it for later, but once your hunger is satisfied get up and go. The vitality and freedom you will experience as you do this will FAR outweigh the sadness you feel at leaving food behind.
That’s it. Four proven things.
And with time and practice they are becoming our relaxed new normal, bringing along with them the health and comfortable weight we’ve been wanting.
The amount of research pointing to mindfulness as a better way of life is mounting and we liberated eaters are on the cutting edge. We don’t really need researchers to tell us what we already know…
Showing up for life makes it richer!
Brown University researchers recently described a mindful moment like this:
“Imagine the simple task of backing a car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering and ignoring distractions: the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes.”
When we back up a vehicle our attention is enhanced. We show up. We try not to let anything distract us. This mundane task illustrates our powers of concentration and our ability to guard against split-focus.
As we practice:
• being present for what’s going on right now
• connecting honestly with our mind and body
• listening deeply
• putting our phones away and showing up
• eating like each bite is a treasure
…we’re going to find that our days and relationships with ourselves and others get sweeter and sweeter…
and that we aren’t thinking about finding something to eat quite as often.
We can give ourselves and our health a great gift by occasionally finding a quiet moment alone to ponder a few good questions.
Here are a few good ones for starters:
• What kind of person would you like to be when it comes to your health and fitness?
• In what ways is this important to you?
• What will you have then that you don’t have now?
• What would you like to be doing consistently?
• How wide is the gap between where you are and where you want to be ?
• What obstacles are standing in your way?
• What are you willing to work on now?
• How might your present health/fitness/weight be protecting you?
• What are the costs and benefits of making changes right now?
• What are the costs and benefits of not making changes ?
Questions help us remember what we really want and who we really are. Find a pleasant spot and have a good, friendly heart-to-heart with yourself. Take your time and enjoy yourself – because you are in very good company indeed!
Recently during our weekly tele-coaching the dilemma of holiday candy came up. It’s everywhere, all the time, in abundance. And – it’s on sale for weeks after the holiday is long gone. And – as soon as Valentine’s is over Easter candy will take its place. Good grief.
Here are a few of the good ideas that came up as we brainstormed around this situation:
• Treat yourself: Decide what candy you want the very most, buy it and savor it with your full attention. I like to put mine on a dessert plate.
• Be the connoisseur: If you taste something that isn’t extremely good – spit it out, or at least don’t take a second bite.
• Stay supported: Take a friend with you when shopping for holiday parties
• Plan ahead: Get your shopping done before the candy revs up or goes on sale.
• Choose your own path: When you do shop don’t go down the holiday aisle.
• Be confident: Remember, you’re strong. You’re in charge. Not the holiday.
• Stay inspired: Have a reminder of your Wellness Vision in plain sight, so you can remember what you really want. [Perhaps a photo of the ocean you want to play in…not you in a bikini when you were 17.]
• Check in: Make a plan with a health buddy to encourage each other through the holiday.
Remember – candy isn’t fattening. (Overeating it is) It isn’t wicked. It doesn’t have super-powers. If we see it this way we are giving it more power than it deserves.
It’s just candy. It’s not all that. You can choose what you like, savor it fully with no guilt whatsoever – and get on with your life.
As you adopt this reasonable and relaxed stance, each holiday will be a little less emotionally charge than the last – until one day – the thought of holiday candy will not even be a blip on your radar screen.