Mindful Eating

February 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

‘Mindful Eating’ is another one of those diet buzzwords that sometimes frustrates me.  I alternately want to eat mindfully and don’t want to. Sometimes, I just want to eat without having to think about it. 

I think about eating and exercise all day long already:

  • am I eating too much?
  • am I eating enough veggies and, to a lesser extent, fruit? 
  • will I be able to control myself today?
  • will today be a “good” eating day or a “bad” one? 
  • will I get enough cardio in? 
  • does the cardio make a difference? 
  • is weight-lifting twice a week good enough?
  • is it really bad that I’m not doing yoga?

These are some of the thoughts that run through my head nearly every day, and there are times when I want a break from the constant noise.  I long to be one of “those people” who just do it right without consciously focusing on it.  Well, bottom line for me: no such luck.

So, when I recently found out that a local surgical weight loss center that was offering a series of Mindful Eating classes, I was a bit torn.  I was excited; maybe this would be the key to help me break through my current struggles.  I was also apprehensive.  Did I truly want to invest more time and money in this?  In the end, I decided to sign up.  And, I’m very glad I did.

I’ve only been able to make two of the 12 classes so far, but they’ve been great classes.  The first one discussed resetting our neural pathways, essentially reprogramming our brain’s reponse to food.  It is a variation on the “change your thoughts, change your life” philosophy, which works, but is much easier said than done.  I’ve been doing it… with some success.

It was last week’s class, though, that really resonated with me.  At first glance, there seemed to be nothing for me to learn from a mood-food connection class.  I was wrong about that.

  • There are approximately 3,000 to describe human emotions.  Nearly 2,000 of them are for negative emotions while only 1,000 are for positive emotions.  No wonder we are skewed toward negativity!
  • I always wondered why replacing eating with something else never worked… until our instructor informed us that it takes 3-5 replacement activities to equal the mood-altering effect of food.  Wow!  THREE to FIVE activities to replace ONE food experience.  First of all, that’s how powerful food can be.  And, secondly, now I understand why this ostensibly logical technique never worked for me.  I thought it was me; it wasn’t.  Good to know on a lot of levels.
  • I’ve always been additionally irritated by admonishments to replace eating with another activity – like reading a self-help book or taking a bath or getting a pedicure – because they are almost never practical . When I’m at work, wanting to chow down, I can’t simply run a bath.  Or, when the compulsion to eat hits me at 11:30 at night, the spa isn’t going to be open for a pedicure.  And, eating is about zoning out; reading a self-help book isn’t gonna do it because it’s the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve.  So… I raised the issue in my class, and voila… our instructor had the answer. Deep breathing!  There’s always time to stop and breathe deeply, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  And, it works.

I’ll miss this week’s class, and I’m a bit bummed about it.   Thank goodness for next week.


Entry filed under: about me, coping strategies, Weight Loss Philosophy.

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