Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mindful Eating

Oh, hey, look who it is! Apparently I needed to take September off...sorry for not communicating that.

As I've noted several times before, I don't seem to have that thing where my stomach tells my brain that I'm full. And in the few, few times it does, it goes away fairly quickly. I've always felt perplexed by this, but never took any time to think about why this might be. Until recently, that is.

Per usual, there was no real aha moment, but simply a non-interesting realization.
As I was preparing one of my meals last week, I decided that part of my problem might not be that my stomach is broken, but that I'm just not paying attention. I'm very much a visual eater, so it makes sense that not paying attention to my meal while I'm eating is keeping me from understanding what I'm eating. So lately, I've been practicing "mindful eating". A term that was coined long before my realization, and may or may not actually mean what I'm using it as here. (I looked at the mindful eating website, and where I'm not totally wrong for using the term, I'm not exactly following their principles to a T, either)

Mr. Light finds a lot of humor in the way I eat my pickles
So what do I mean when I say mindful eating? I mean that I don't allow myself to do anything else while I'm eating. When it is mealtime, I have to do that and only that. Sound painful? Yeah, it's a little hard to get used to. But you know what? It works. I find myself a lot more satisfied with what I've eaten, and the fact that I'm done...which, unfortunately, always makes me a little sad. In fact, paying attention to my meal makes me actually look forward to being finished with my meal, so that I can finally reach for my book of crosswords (yep. I'm that cool.) or computer. It helps me to see food as the fuel that it is, rather than to view it as part of a recreational activity.

Here is a challenge for you: eat your meals tomorrow as you normally would, but note how you feel before and how you feel after eating. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I want you to practice mindful eating, again noting how you feel before and how you feel after each meal. Did you feel hungry sooner when you weren't paying attention? Did you feel more thankful for the food in front of you? Did you make better food choices in general? Or is this something you already practice?
Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

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