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My Mindful Eating Journey

Amy Whistance (Diploma in Holistic Life Coaching Skills)

 

I am going to be recording my mindful eating journey. This is something that I started last month due to the recognition that I was struggling to gain control of my weight gain and after completing a course associating it with childhood trauma and emotional connection. I journal daily and so have pulled sections out and have then continued.

I have always been very guilty of mindlessly eating. Food has always been connected to love, comfort and emotion and achievement for me. I have always yoyo dieted and gone from one extreme to another with food. I decided that rather than attempting another diet I would try approaching a more mindful approach to food and see what I discovered.

Changes

I decided to plan my meals ahead of time and to shop accordingly. I often don’t plan ahead and end up eating what is quick, easy and available whether I fancy it or not.

The speed at which I eat my food is a bit of a joke between friends and family. I always rush food and I have never really considered why. I decided on ensuring that I was chewing my food sufficiently.

I eat abnormally large portions of food and have done since childhood. Food is always something that I always wanted lots more. I would often become uncomfortably full but would never feel as though I could stop eating until my plate was empty. I decided to serve myself smaller portions and to really pay attention to my body.

I often eat on the go whilst multi-tasking so I decided on ensuring that I sit down without distraction to every meal that I have ensuring that my focus is on the food.

I wanted to start considering where my eating habits had come from and how that may be able to help me change them.

Day 1

On day one I set out to chew each bite of my food twenty times. I found it surprisingly difficult. I paid attention to my feelings and the fact that I was bored was the most dominant. I felt that I was wasting time and that I needed to double on tasks to make the most of the time.  I tried to think about where I may have adopted this feeling towards eating and I can only determine that life as a mother has made me feel that way and I acknowledged that now my children are older and I have the time to not need to rush that belief no longer serves me. I did however stop counting my chewing half way through my meal with intention to try again next time.

Day 2

I made a point of stopping during my meal today and doing a body scan to consider whether I was full or still hungry.   I realised that I really didn’t need to eat anymore. It was really difficult to leave my food but I did and I felt much more comfortable after my meal and I was pleased that I had listened to my body. It was a positive day of food!

Day 3

Today, after my previous days realisation that I did not need to prepare myself such a large portion to be full I prepared a smaller one. I spent time chewing each mouthful and really acknowledging the texture, the noisy sound that my jaw makes when I chew a lot. I was actually still eating when my family finished theirs, this is unheard of. I felt satisfied and didn’t crave snacks afterwards.

Day 4

I sat at the table for lunch today, alone, without the tv, phone, radio or any distraction. I counted to 20 with each mouthful of my food and each time my mind wandered to boredom I would bring it back to counting. I had a bit of a dialogue going on discounting what I was doing and the thoughts that it was pointless because It isn’t something that I could do for every meal but I brought my mind back to the count. I stuck at it and I thought about sustainable ways to consistently eat my food at a slower pace. No answers yet however I am thinking that perhaps the progress through the other days will bring them.

Day 5

I purposefully went about enjoying the cooking process today. Taking notice of the ingredients, smelling the food as it cooked. I built up and excitement with the intention of savouring the food as I ate. Really enjoying the taste of the food, being mindful of the heat, the saltiness, the spices.

Day 6

Feeling as though I am getting to grips with the speed at which I eat and my smaller meal sizes I wanted to start thinking more about what I eat. I am always very mindful of what I eat in regards to healthy foods. I worry about illness and understand how processed foods relate. I still however struggle to give up some of the processed food even though I think that I eat a lot less than most people. I also really struggle to eat meat. Since I was of the age to connect meat and beings I have switched between vegetarian, vegan and eating meat. I have been eating meat, mainly because everyone else in the house has tried and ruled out cutting it out. I found cooking separate meals expensive and unsustainable. I know that eating meat creates a real disconnect, It makes me worry about the connection to poor health and I know that on a subconscious level no matter my trying to ignore it it bothers me on an ethical level. It also doesn’t uphold my environmental efforts. This all came to mind because I had read that a mindful eating method was to think about where your food comes from. I acknowledged that I do not feel comfortable with where my food comes from when eating meat and decided that I will not be eating meat and will have to find a way of catering for us all sustainably.

Day 7

I have combined all of my initial goals with my dinner this evening and I feel like I am really building a new relationship with my food. I am enjoying it, I am not craving it and I am feeling satisfied with what I eat. I want to spend the next week repeating this and see how I feel.

Day 8

I managed to eat mindfully today and am realising the benefits. I have lost weight!

Day 9

I struggled a little today and had to really slow things down. I have been feeling anxious about the impending visit from family who will be staying for the weekend. My initial reaction was to eat. I recognised the feeling, observed it and let it pass. It was really difficult. Instead I made a healthy meal and went back to my plan of incorporating all of my goals together. I also recognise that I often slip in to bad practice after celebrating a weight loss achievement.

Day 10

I was rushed today, I tried to slow my eating down and be as mindful as possible however not as well as other days but much better than before I started.

Day 11

I managed to reduce my portion size even more today as I realised

Day 12

I have struggled today and did not eat mindfully. I didn’t beat myself up over it which is a big step as that usually has a snowball effect of feeling like I have failed and the ‘sod it all’ attitude.

Day 13

Today I really enjoyed my food in a way that I don’t think I ever have before. I didn’t gorge or rush through. I paid complete attention to what I was tasting, smelling and experiencing and I understood my fear of missing out. I was full and feared missing out on a slice of cake incase I wouldn’t have the opportunity again. This is the same belief that has had me buy more than one cake in a shop. I didn’t have it and I didn’t spend my evening feeling as though I had and obsessing over it until I ate something as a substitute.

Day 14

I am so pleased that I have been on this journey. For some time I have understood that I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

 

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