MY JOURNEY TO MINDFUL EATING
I have always had an interesting relationship with food. My eating has been a roller coaster of cycles. Restrictive eater, check. Emotional and stress binge eater, check. Diet band-wagoner, check. Foodie and restaurant hopper, check. Resident chef for friends and family, check. It took mindful eating meditation to break the cycle. For the first time in my life, I have created a healthy relationship between myself and food.
I learned about mindful eating during my advanced yoga teacher training and it impacted me immensely. Many of the foods I meditated with that first time were foods I must have had 1000’s of times. Yet, no prior memory compared to the experience of connecting to those pieces of food with complete presence. The hands-on, tangible aspect of this meditation made it extremely easy for me to focus and stay in tune with myself and whatever piece of food I looked at or touched. I came to realize how automatic and unhealthy many of my patterns of eating were, how I had created stories of what I could eat, shouldn’t eat, and needed to eat.
"I came to realize how automatic and unhealthy many of my patterns of eating were, how I had created stories of what I could eat, shouldn't eat, and needed to eat."
Conscious eating has changed my life in more ways than one. For the past year, it has become a regular addition to my self-care routine and part of the toolbox for my life. My mindset regarding what I eat has completely shifted. I remember to be grateful for the nourishment of food and the journey that it took to get to me. Thankful for my body and the ability it has to digest, process, and provide sustenance and energy to survive. I am more aware of when I have emotions driving my intense need to eat crunchy, salty, or sweet instead of facing myself or an uncomfortable situation. Restricting and binging have become non-existent.
Mindful eating has sometimes been called the anti-diet, and I would completely agree. It is definitely not a diet or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely—experiencing reality for what it is. It is about the starvation of the stories we tell ourselves in relation to food.
"Mindful eating has sometimes been called the anti-diet, and I would completely agree."
Through the practice of an eating meditation or mindful eating you learn to eat consciously, and you can eat a pizza, hamburger, even french fries if you wish. Perhaps you learn that you enjoy a particular food a lot more. Or, you might decide halfway through that your body has had enough or that it really needs some vegetables. Mindful eating is about awareness, consciousness, and connection which often get lost in the automatic rat race of everyday life. It's about making choices and listening to the signals our bodies send us that we often ignore. It's about getting curious in the shape of eating.
If you are interested in learning more about mindful eating, here are a few quick and easy things you can add into your daily life that will get the ball rolling! They may seem extremely easy and simple, but don’t underestimate the true impact they could have.