Well, it’s been a few weeks and I’m still working on mindful eating. I gather that like most things in life, this is an everyday pursuit. The last two questions posed in the previously referenced article seem very similar to the others. Question 5 is “Do you listen to your body’s natural stop-eating signals?” Albers suggests pausing after half your food is gone and again assessing how hungry you are. This is an amazing thing to do. I have stopped myself several times because I realized I was pretty full even though I had a lot left on my plate. (Also, I have stopped to assess my hunger, realized I was full, and then decided to continue eating. Hmm. I guess at least it was a conscious choice. )
Since I’ve had to put food away, it naturally led me to question the portions I’m serving myself. I’ve started giving myself smaller portions and that’s been okay. If I still feel hungry I try to wait a bit before getting more food. Eating mindfully has allowed me to feel hunger and a little empty (my stomach not my soul) more of the time. I try now to think about what would satiate the hunger and found on several occasions I was really just thirsty and a couple glasses of water did the trick.
Question 6 is “Want some chocolate?” Albers says it’s time to get rid of the diet mentality and make peace with foods some consider off-limits. This has never been an issue with me. I allow myself a sweet treat if I need/want one. What I want my sweet treat to be has changed.
A couple of years ago I loved this one chocolate we carried at the store. We discontinued it for a year and recently brought it back. I looked forward to having a bit of the chocolate as a snack. However, when I sat down, took a breath, and then took a bite, I realized I didn’t really like it anymore. This did make me a bit sad, because I remembered it so fondly–like an old love who is now just old. I took that treat off my list and have moved on to other yummies–Kakao chocolates, Patric bars, Anskinosie’s San Jose del Tambo bar.
So, what did I learn:
1. It is really hard (maybe impossible) for me to eat a meal in 20 minutes or more. When I tried to stretch one meal to 20 minutes (a meal at home, not a restaurant meal served in courses) I had eaten it all in 12 minutes. And I was really chewing it, and tasting it, and setting my utensil down after every bite. Whew, the minutes went by slowly.
2. That I have a tendency to load up my fork/spoon and have it ready for entry before I have finished chewing my previous bite. This happens often. I’m observing it and changing it when I can.
3. I can eat a lot less and still feel full and happy about my meal. In fact, I feel a lot better. I’ve also noticed that I get full more quickly than I did before.
4. To stop and assess my hunger before I eat. I cannot believe how many times I mindlessly throw food in my mouth. I wondered what did the pioneers or hunter/gatherer folks do for snacks. I guess probably jerky or they didn’t snack ’cause it was a lot of work to prepare food.
So my plan is continue this pursuit and hope it becomes a habit!