Have you ever been in your kitchen, deep in thought, and the next thing you know your entire plate of food is gone?
Did an alien swarm in and take it? Do you have ghosts?
Probably not. But the issue of disappearing food could be just as unsettling.
If our bodies are under stress, either from an overactive schedule, unyielding responsibilities, or facing health concerns, our minds look for anything to alleviate the pressure we feel.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I spent much of my time looking for answers to why I was sick by browsing in the brownie section of the grocery store. Although the chocolaty goodness gave me momentary relief (just like Crack does to a junkie), it ended up causing more harm than good (again, just like Crack).
According to expert Dr. Barry Sears, eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar, the equivalent of about two cans of soda or large slice of cake, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs and bacteria by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for up to six hours. He also says that sugar also sours behavior, attention, and learning.
By choosing an unhealthy diet, we are taxing our already stressed body and stretching it beyond its capabilities. As an added bonus, we are creating more anxiety, guilt and shame to our emotional state which is already pretty freaked out.
Is this the life we want to lead? We can’t always control what is happening to us, but we can control how we handle it and how we honor our body in the process.
So, how do we stop this slippery slope to a sugary hell?
First, instead of heading to the fridge when we are overloaded, take a deep breathe and calm down (literally). Clearing our minds and doing something different is a start to breaking our toxic bond with food. Go for a walk, close your eyes and take five deep breaths, play with the kids or dog, do something that gets you out of your head.
But we still have to eat, so how do we do that without falling back into our old patterns?
By mindfully eating, we learn to pay attention to our food while setting an intention for its use in our body. We can then notice and enjoy what we ingest instead of shoving food in our mouths for speed or comfort (have you ever seen someone driving on the freeway shoveling a burger in his mouth? Not much attention there).
Mindful eating encompasses the entire process.
• You become aware of your physical and emotional cues
• Recognize your non-hunger triggers
• Learn processing skills to meet your emotional needs without food
• Determine when you are full and stop
• Develop a healthier, happier relationship with food
In Psychology Today, Jan Chozen Bays says that, “Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We notice the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds. We also pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full? And we look at what is happening in the mind. While avoiding judgement or criticism, we notice how eating affects our mood and how our emotions like anxiety influence our eating. Gradually we regain the sense of ease and freedom with eating.”
Eating mindfully is easy, but remember, we have had our eating habits most of our life. Like anything, change takes a little time so start slow with consistency.
Experiment with just one of these ideas first then add more when you are ready.
(1) Try taking the first sips of a cup of hot tea or coffee with full attention.
(2) Think or talk to your family about how your food got to the table. Where it came from and who made it possible for you to eat it.
(3) At family meals, you might ask everyone to eat in silence for the first five minutes, then talk about what the food taste like (just don’t get offended if they don’t like it), and the smells, texture, emotions you feel while eating.
(4) Try eating one meal a week mindfully, alone and in silence. Be creative. For example, could you eat lunch behind a closed office door, or even alone in the car?
Most Importantly, Enjoy Your Meal! Food Is a Pleasure and a Gift. Honor It and Your Body.
And if you know someone that could benefit from this information just click the share buttons below. We both would appreciate it!