Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mindful eating

I find myself eating more and more now since I have been at home. I get bored easily. I snack even when I never really used to. Just the other day, I went through almost a whole bag of Trader Joe's Olive Oil Pop Corn (yum!) while watching TV and was still hungry after that.

When Sam was in Afghanistan, I began doing something I called "paying attention" when I ate. I would sit down for a meal and actually pay attention to what I was eating, how the food made me feel and when I satisfied and not full. Since Sam has returned, life has been one great big distraction (Sam has a way of doing that), and I have really been not paying attention to what I eat.

Example, Sam and I love movies! We love to Eat! We love to watch movies while we eat! Sam and I cook dinner on a somewhat regular basis. We have spent long periods of time preparing and cooking our food just to barely notice it as we watch Leo DiCaprio dodge bullets in Iraq (Body of Lies). Or we order food from our favorite restaurants in town and not savor any bite of it because Angelina Jolie lost her son (Changeling -both movies we saw this week).

When I "paid attention" to my meals and to myself, I was able to drop 50+ pounds without giving up food I loved. So now I am looking to do the same again. Today was my first day eating mindfully. I was getting ready to slip into my normal routine of coffee and toast or a sweet piece of bread in the morning. When I stopped and asked myself if I was even hungry? I wasn't!
Instead I headed to the workroom and began catching up on jewelry orders. I worked for an hour or two, made a few phone calls, and then felt a hunger pang.

It gets better, I decided to go for my Trail Mix Crunch cereal and poured myself a bowl. Just as I was going to bring it over to my laptop and have a surf-side breakfast (ha ha, I made it up!), I stopped again, put the laptop away and sat down to eat.

After being mindful for the first time in months (years), I realized that I was satisfied with my meal a lot sooner than I thought. I had only eaten about 1/3 of the portion I had served myself.
As I sat there staring into the (now seeming) huge bowl still full with cereal and soy milk. (sigh) I was thinking about how I was raised - as someone who does not waste food. I could not believe that I had to convince myself NOT to eat it! I could already hear my grandma's voice in my head going on about "serving yourself too much and being wasteful, just eat it!"

I could have, but decided to fight myself and put it in the sink. Gosh, I can't believe I am writing about this. But this is a perfect example of food conditioning.

It has been a while since I actually examined what I was eating. As I peered into the bowl, I saw dried cranberries, granola clumps, some kind of brand twig, almonds and a kind of puffed rice ball. It was all delicious, it smelled like apple pie, and it was crunchy, it had an interesting texture too.

Well, I don't think I will be posting mindful meal blogs too often. I don't think most folks have an interest in it or the same sort of food issues that I have.

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