Is Mindful Eating as Boring as it Sounds?

That’s a fair question.

In our Western culture words like mindfulness and awareness can feel unfamiliar, even weird. Thankfully that’s changing. Still a lot of people tell me that they’re afraid that mindful eating will be boring – they think they’ll be giving something up if they eat this way.

So let’s start by taking a look at what mindful eating is NOT:

  • It’s not eating in slow motion like a sloth
  • It doesn’t mean you can never ever do anything but eat when you eat
  • It’s not about counting 30 chews per bite (barf!)
  • It’s not about eating only whole foods
  • It doesn’t mean you have to become a Zen master, which I understand takes a very long time

Mindful eating IS about having:

  • A full-on, deep down, satisfying pleasure experience
  • A rejuvenating mini-vacation for your body and brain, several times a day
  • The freedom to choose food you truly enjoy – and the peace and confidence to enjoy a sane amount
  • A practice that leads you to a comfortable weight and keeps you there (rather than losing and regaining the same old weight)
  • Confidence. Its effectiveness is proven again and again by researchers and, more importantly, by real people with real lives

Does this sound boring to you!?! This is eating at its very best – it’s exciting and peaceful at the same time. Hmmm, that just might be the confusion…

Peaceful is not the same thing as boring.

I could go on and on enthusiastically because this way of living with food literally freed me from a thirty year imprisonment. That’s why I call it liberated eating. I was enslaved by two masters: restriction (too little) and compulsion (too much) – with a whole lot of angst banging around between the two. The relief and joy of my liberation never leaves; it fuels my passion for coaching others to their own health and freedom.

Anyone can step away from relentless dieting and learn how to trust themselves and honor their own body’s innate wisdom again.

I know, I know – that sounds scary, but don’t worry about the lack of food-rules. Our freedom is not an excuse for indulgence, which always takes more than it gives. Liberated eating is rooted in wisdom and respect, which always give back more than they require.

WOW! There’s certainly nothing boring about that!

 

*Thank you, National Geographic, for this photo and so much more.

What’s Going On When Enough Food Isn’t Enough?

red flagWhat’s going on with us liberated eaters when we keep eating even though our stomachs are telling us to quit?

This happens to all of us now and then. Instead of getting sidetracked by guilt or fear, let’s explore what’s happening when enough food isn’t feeling like enough.

There are hundreds of reasons we might feel compelled to overeat – from old habits to new stressors – but let’s divide these myriad reasons into three main categories so it’s easier to find solutions.

There’s always a way through.

When enough isn’t feeling like enough, check in on these 3 possibilities:

1. Your life is raising a red flag: Something needs your attention. You really are hungry – just not for more food. So the question becomes

“What am I really hungry for?”

Could you need more fun? Connection? Creativity? Purpose? Wiggle room? Spiritual meaning? Peace? These are all legitimate needs that can feel a lot like gnawing hunger.

2. Your food-life is asking you to show up again: Maybe you’re not eating as mindfully these days, which is easy to forget in our distracting world. Thoughtful eating, however, is the strongest safeguard for our food-filled lives. Becoming present before we take that first bite sets us up for sanity and satisfaction.

3. You’ve forgotten what you REALLY want: The more future-focused we are the easier it is to align our daily choices with our future dreams. When your goal of feeling great tomorrow is not top-of-mind today, it’s easy for the other half of that panini to look pretty special.

Keeping a shined-up mental picture of myself dancing joyously at my granddaughter’s wedding when I’m 85 makes it much easier to get to the gym at 59.

So there we have it, three different areas to explore. Here are some questions to think through if you’d like to dig a little deeper…

What might your life need more of right now? Or less? Would you be willing to journal about this or talk it through with a trusted friend this week?

How thoroughly have you been enjoying your eating experiences lately? On a scale of 1 to 10 how “present” are you these days?

How strong is your motivation for reaching and keeping your best health? What does this level of health look like for you? What might change if you focused on how you want to feel one year from today?

The Crazy Thing About Real Food*

candyFirst, some background:

  • I was stuck in the diet/binge cycle for 30 years
  • Sugary packaged foods were my binge-drug of choice
  • It felt terrible physically and emotionally
  • The more sweet stuff I ate, the more I craved

But now:

  • No more diet rules, just reasonable guidelines
  • No foods are forbidden so there is no guilt over eating certain foods
  • I love feeling good so it makes sense to do the things that make that happen
  • Eating mostly whole foods and being physically active give me what I want

LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY:

Once I stepped away from dieting I was free to eat anything, even the foods that made me feel crappy. And I did. But I also began to listen to my body instead of diet rules…and soon I began to want to feel good.

I REALIZED WHAT I TRULY WANTED:
1. To feel vibrant in mind and body
2. To eat foods I enjoy
3. To LIVE whole-heartedly, which meant being life-focused, not food-focused

Over time, it became evident that eating real food (most of the time) got me what I wanted. Eating processed foods eventually left me feeling “wanting” – not good enough or full enough for long enough.

Some things I discovered about real food:

  • What I eat really does have an effect on how I feel, especially my energy.
  • It’s easier to stay at a weight that feels good when I eat real food.
  • Whole foods keep me satisfied longer so I don’t feel like prowling. .
  • Eating real food helps regulate my hypoglycemia (blood sugar) so I don’t feel crazy as often.
  • Real food has more fiber so it keeps me reg’lar.
  • I have WAY less cravings when I eat real food.

That’s it. I CAN EAT ANY DANG THING I WANT!!!! And – over time – I have genuinely come to crave whole foods most of the time.

BIG TAKE-AWAY: Eating nutritiously naturally happens as we become more intuitive and mindful. It’s a process – not a “program”. It takes time, honesty, grace, a lot of relapse along the way, and encouraging support from others who are on this same path.

If I can help you on your path in any way please let me know!

*Whole food (real food) is in it’s natural state – not processed and refined. It is close to the way it was originally found. An apple is a whole food. Apple Jacks is not.

CLICK on these links below for more on whole foods…

A COOL BLOG WITH GOOD RECIPES & RESOURCES

REAL FOOD MADE SIMPLE SITE

 

Don't Complicate Things This Christmas

Don't Complicate Things This ChristmasThoroughly enjoying Christmas holiday goodies without regret is quite doable. Don’t over-think it…just pick a tool and use it. They really work!

  • Take three relaxing breaths before you take a bite
  • Think of yourself as a holiday food connoisseur – discerning and “picky”
  • Enjoy medium/small bites
  • Put your fork or food down between bites
  • Eat slowly, savoring each unique bite

Remember, mindful eating is not theoretical. It is experiential. As we practice mindfulness, we become more mindful. As we become more mindful we stop overeating and then we begin to reap all kinds of benefits! Energy goes up and weight goes down.

Make this the most enjoyable Christmas season you’ve had in a long long time. All it takes is a few simple tools.