Being Mindful: Application 1
Last week, I mentioned that I would be discussing some applications regarding mindful eating for those who are interested in weight loss and/or gaining control over their intake. We’ve all heard: Whatever it is that we put our energy and focus towards, are the things that will grow in our life.
If you struggle with mindless, senseless, over-eating, you may have decided in your mind that it is easier to not pay any attention to it, because you can’t do anything about it and it is emotionally draining. Change is hard, especially when you are so busy “growing” other things in your life that you cherish; whether it is a career, a relationship, a hobby, children, an aging parent, etc. You deserve to be healthy and gain control over the reasons hindering you from becoming who you want to be.
Here are some considerations when it comes to eating mindfully that I would like for you to give some of your focus and energy towards. Reminder: The purpose of this exercise is to bring awareness solely to what and why you are eating. It is one step closer to becoming a mindful eater and no-one is excluded from this. We are all guilty of eating mindlessly. For some it may occur more often and is used as a coping strategy rather than providing nourishment.
- The main purpose of food is to nourish our bodies and sustain life. However, this is not the only reason we eat. Sometimes we are over tired, worried, stressed, sad, lonely, angry, afraid, discouraged, hopeless, and happy; the list goes on and on. These provokers are not easily identifiable and you may be surprised of what your triggers really are. Any “diet” or attempt to eat better will fail if you do not first recognize your triggers for over-consumption.
- Next time you find yourself eating a snack or meal, ask yourself some questions. Am I really hungry? Am I bored? Am I sad? Am I lonely? Do I feel rejected? Am I afraid?
- Write your answers down in a little notebook including what types of food you run to when you are triggered to eat. Write down the emotion you are feeling, what time of day, where you are, your environment, who you’re with. Start to recognize all of these occurrences.
- I also would like for you to write down what you are eating when you are responding to TRUE hunger cues. Are the choices better? Are they more controlled? What are the emotions attached?
- Start trying to pay attention to real hunger cues verses provokers that are just that: provokers. Compare your differences between responding to true hunger cues and emotional eating.
- If you feel inclined, share some of your findings with trusted friends or family members. This will help make your first attempts a reality when you are able to voice what is happening and will allow for the walls to come down and change to occur.