A former client of mine came back for a tune-up coaching session a few weeks back, many pounds lighter. She looked great. She said she had read the raunchy book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin and now she is a vegan. Wow, gotta get that book! My husband has pushed the Michael Pollan books my way: Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Rules, In Defense of Food. It never ceases to amaze me how effective good solid information can be in changing behavior. So after much reading about the travesties of the industrial food complex, I am a changed woman. I’ve lost many pounds, too and my shorts fit again.
I started really paying attention to what I was putting in my mouth, I mean really—as in everything. No more unconscious eating when I was bored, upset or just wanting to chew on something.
First was just observing. What became obvious was just how often I reached for sugar as a little snack. I would have said once or twice a day—no actually several times more than that was the reality. And then after the sugar, something salty sure sounded good. . . unbelievable because I thought I ate fairly well. Then I became aware of how the sugar made me feel—yep, temporarily satisfied then jittery. Yuck.
Next was finding better alternatives–ones that would actually give my body the fuel I needed to do all of the things I want to do in a given day, which is substantial. How could I expect my body to function at top performance when I was filling it with low grade fuel? So back to the raisins and fruit for sweetness AND vitamins and minerals, and sliced celery, peppers and cucumbers out on the counter for grab-as-you-go eating. My husband and I both work at home many days, so there is a lot of this. My teenagers are actually picking up these veggies, too, now.
What I discovered was I much prefer fresh, juicy, flavorful fruit to simply sweet garbage. My conscious rests easy when I am not eating tortured, tainted food sold to me by the corporate profiteers. I feel light, clean and clearer headed when I feast on a salad of fresh veggies, nuts and fruit than I heavy carbohydrate cheese laden creation.
I tuned into the subtle energies that arose in me after whatever I ate and how my body responded. I became mindful.
Other Ways to be Mindful
So why stop at eating—I started looking at how and where else I could use this mindful way of slowing down, focusing in and being conscious of my actions. Gardening became so sensual, digging in the pungent earth, and cluing into the thriving micro world found there. During my morning run I tuned into my foot as it lands on the ground, aware of my ability to regulate the impact. I heard the songs of the birds and the sound of the breeze on the reeds. I could feel the sensations in my body as my muscles support my efforts. All kinds of possibilities appeared.
Where to begin?
1) Start paying attention to everything you put in your mouth.
2) Check in with your body to see if you really want to eat that item or would prefer a good cry or a hug.
3) Sense your body, and start developing a closer relationship by paying attention to its subtle clues and vibrations.
4) Begin each day anew.
Being mindful while eating, or in life in general, deepens your connection and relationship with your inner self which calms, centers and grounds you.
“Realize that this very body, with its aches and its pleasures,
is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.”
— Pema Chodron