Each day I’m bombarded by food posts on social media in the form of recipes; scare stories; advice and information; adverts etc. Food is such a hot topic for me that it elicits a variety of emotional responses, but the biggest one is guilt.
I’ve had a funny relationship with food since my teens. I’ve always been conscious of my weight,despite being slim, and conscious of healthy/ unhealthy food. I’d try all sorts of different diets. I remember once doing a low fat diet, before I understood about calories, and would eat a big bag of haribo every night because they contained little fat. Later on I would make a million resolves to be healthier and eat less right after I devoured a load of food (Once, I ate an 8 pack of penguins and then vowed to stay off chocolate for a year … It lasted a week!)
About a year before I became ill with M.E. I was diagnosed with IBS and so I began a wheat and dairy free diet. I discovered I’m pretty motivated if I’ve got a plan to stick to. This trait of mine came in handy when a few years down the line I tried a very restrictive diet, alongside the Perrin Treatment, for my health. I ate extremely healthy for a year and a half. After that pregnancy sickness and cravings, moving into our own home and caring for little kids all made a healthy, strict diet very difficult – It takes a lot of preparation, planning and extra finances to eat an enjoyable healthy diet.
For the past 4 years (where does the time go?!) I’ve eaten as healthy as I can, with unhealthy blips, like Christmas, inbetween. I feel constant guilt that I’m not eating well enough. Sometimes this guilt spurs me on to eating better, sometimes it sends me straight to the chocolate cake. Although I’m a more sensible eater now and try to eat as well and as healthy as my energy and circumstances permit, I continue to have an underlying sense of guilt that I should be eating better.
My Perrin practitioner would always tell me that I should be ok with whatever choice I made when eating and not beat myself up about it. It’s important to remove all guilt and negative associations with food. It was thinking in this vein that reminded me of an email I received a few months back. Usually I would disregard emails like this, but the caption appealed to me – “Why dieting doesn’t work”. It contained a link to a YouTube video of a TED talk about mindful eating. I can’t usually sustain concentration for too long, but I was really interested in all she had to say and watched it all straight away, rewinding every now and then to really get the gist of it. It’s worth a watch if you’ve got the time and energy:
It makes sense to me that the more notice we take of what we consume and the more we are mindful of it we will recognise what effect it is having on us, whether good or bad , and we will be more inclined to eat better. These three quotes explain it well
there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort.
Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. You can eat a cheeseburger mindfully, if you wish. You might enjoy it a lot more. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs some salad.
Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it. Mindful eating is natural, interesting, fun, and cheap.
The process of mindful eating is a long one by its nature. To do it properly would take a long time at each meal, but we can make a start by following the suggestions on this picture from www.eatingmindfully.com and becoming more mindful when we eat.
It’s removing all distractions and really being in the moment of eating; noticing your thoughts and feelings before, during and after; observing the food, it’s smells, textures appearance; stopping when you feel satisfied; paying attention.
I thought this article was also good in explaining how to eat mindfully:
Although it sounds a bit far-out and hippyish I can really see how mindful eating can remove the battles I have with myself over food and help in achieving a healthier diet.
What are your thoughts on mindful eating? Have you tried it? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments 😊