The Roof Is Leaking!
Before you change the way you eat you need to change your fundamental relationship with food and in order to do that you need to know what that relationship is to begin with. Which is why I believe mindful eating is absolutely essential if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
Most of us live our lives on auto-pilot. Even someone like me who has had a mindfulness practice for nearly 40 years is still often just aware enough to know I haven’t been paying attention.
So pragmatically how does mindfulness work when it comes to overeating?
It means learning to eat with intention and attention, even if you’re standing in the kitchen at 2:00 in the morning eating ice cream out of the container. Especially when you’re standing in the kitchen at 2:00 in the morning eating ice cream out of the container.
It’s easy to pay attention when things are pleasant. You’re sitting down to your healthy meal, and eat it mindfully and then pat yourself on the back for doing well. No problem being mindful.
It’s a lot harder when you’ve had the crappiest day, you’re in an agitated mood, it’s 2:00 am and you can’t sleep. You know you “shouldn’t” have anything to eat, but you shuffle down to the kitchen anyway and grab the ice cream container out of the freezer. What might happen if instead of mindlessly shoveling that ice cream into your mouth you actually paid attention to what was going on? Really pay attention to the taste, the sweet, the cold, the creamy. The feeling of the ice cream as it washes down your esophagus into your stomach. But It’s also important to pay attention to the thoughts, the guilt, the self recrimination, the revulsion, the ecstasy, the joy. Take it all in. Because in reality you’re experiencing a complex web of sensations..
And I’m talking from personal experience here. With me it was a cold spaghetti sandwich at 2:00 am, trust me, everything else was the same.
And this is where a lot of people have told me, yeah, but I’m eating because I want to escape. And that’s precisely the question I suggest you ask yourself, especially when you’re overeating “What do you want from the food? And are you getting it? I mean, you’re listening to this video because you want to step out of the yo-yo diet cycle and stop making crappy food choices. On some level I think you know that auto-pilot isn’t working for you.
The other question I get often, is What? You want me to binge with intention. Ah yeah, I know it’s counter-intuitive, but intention grounds attention. You actually can’t be fully present to anything you’re doing unless you’re doing it intentionally.
If you want to make a change you need to know where you are and the first step is eating, whatever, healthy or otherwise, intentionally and mindfully. Note I said this is the first step, not the only step. And I hope you’ll consider joining me on this journey.