These week's challenge falls in the diet category and I'm going to focus on eating mindfully.
I bought a book about mindful eating: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh. I think this may be the first time I've said on the blog that I bought a book about something. And I'm pretty surprised. Although I did listen to the mindfulness lectures, which is where I got the mindful eating idea, I don't think I've bought any books specifically to learn more about the challenges. Typically, no matter what I'm doing, one of the first things you find me saying is, "I bought a book about it..."
Like I mentioned, the idea for mindful eating came out of a lecture about how mindfulness can help with addiction and over-indulgence in general, including eating. This last year, I lost 30 pounds (actually, I lost 30 pounds between March and November of 2014 and I've kept it off since) and the only big change I made was to start tracking what I eat with MyFitnessPal. When I tell people that, they either say something like "also you run a lot" (actually I sometimes, at best) or they point out that tracking calories forces you to pay more attention to what you eat, which is more like it.
And paying more attention to what you eat is a form of mindfulness. Not exactly the kind of mindfulness I'm hoping to cultivate this week, but a form nonetheless. I no longer eat entire bags of things without looking at the calories. I'm better at judging what a portion looks like, and I can pretty much guess how many calories I've had by how full I feel.
I hope that by cultivating more mindfulness, I'll be able to better control what I eat. I often eat while doing something else, such as looking at my computer or phone, unless I'm eating with someone else, which isn't all that often, but when I do, I try to pay attention to them. And if I'm not paying attention to what I eat, and I'm not in any of those situations, I tend to overeat. Find myself too full, or regretting what I ate. I'd like to stop doing that.
I've rounded up some tips for mindful eating that I'd like to try:
- Think about where the food came from. Be thankful for whatever allows you to enjoy the food.
- Pay attention to each bite. Think about how the food tastes and feels in your mouth.
- Only eat; don't distract yourself with other activities.
- Pay attention to how you feel as you eat and stop eating when you feel full.
- When eating with others, try to guide the conversation toward the food itself.
That's what I've got to start with. Today was day one and I can tell this is going to be a struggle. I'm trying to get this post up before someone comes by, making writing impossible, and I was hungry, so I ate some pizza while writing. Multi-tasking, so tempting yet so ineffective. I know I'll have a tough time breaking some of these habits, but I think it will be worth trying. Wish me luck!
Week Twenty-eight: Diet - Mindful Eating