When I think back, I can vividly remember being a young child and always eating while watching my favorite TV shows.
I grew up on a farm. My mother and stepfather worked outside a lot while I spent a lot of time inside reading, listening music, and watching TV. Yeah, I did play outside, but, often times, I was the only kid around (my step siblings would always be bouncing back and forth from our house to their mom’s).
I can’t specifically remember feeling bored or lonely, but you’d think I would have had to have been. I think, without knowing it, I was numbing those feelings with bread, cheddar cheese, ice cream, and any good TV show airing on the three channels we had access to.
Fast forward to decades later when I moved to a city I hated. Now, I was eating pizza, burgers, and tons of junk food while I watched hours and hours of TV or spent the summers sitting at my computer checking out the Big Brother live feeds.
I don’t think I’ve ever owned a kitchen table. I’ve never needed one. I eat on my couch or at my computer.
Not paying attention while I’m eating is so engrained within me, it’s rare that I question the habit or wonder if I should do something about it.
About five years ago, I did come across the book Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers. I liked the book, but I never implemented any of her suggestions.
This weekend, I started thinking about “mindful eating” again. Part of it comes from feeling frustrated about all the crap I ate last week and wanting to be more aware of what I’m doing rather than easily getting into the habit of zoning out and eating a ton of food.
Another reason I want to be more aware is because the more green juice I drink and the more I have fruits and veggies in my kitchen—cutting, washing, and just acknowledging their rich colors—I feel a deeper appreciation for putting that stuff in my body. That appreciation only lasts seconds. I want to hold on to it longer (if that makes sense).
I’m going to be reading the following three books, taking what I learn from them and eating differently. I want to do this for the next 28 days. I’ll be documenting what happens.
By: Jan Chozen Bays
The art of mindfulness can transform our struggles with food—and renew our sense of pleasure, appreciation, and satisfaction with eating. Drawing on recent research and integrating her experiences as a physician and meditation teacher, Dr. Jan Bays offers a wonderfully clear presentation of what mindfulness is and how it can help with food issues.
Mindful eating is an approach that involves bringing one’s full attention to the process of eating—to all the tastes, smells, thoughts, and feelings that arise during a meal. Whether you are overweight, suffer from an eating disorder, or just want to get more out of life, this book offers a simple tool that can make a remarkable difference.
In this book, you’ll learn how to:
• Tune into your body’s own wisdom about what, when, and how much to eat
• Eat less while feeling fully satisfied
• Identify your habits and patterns with food
• Develop a more compassionate attitude toward your struggles with eating
• Discover what you’re really hungry for
By: Sasha T. Loring
Eating with Fierce Kindness is not a diet, but a way to revolutionize how you think about yourself and about food. Eating with fierce kindness and compassion toward yourself, instead of shame and self-blame, will empower you to change your relationship to food and see yourself in a whole new light.
This book will guide you toward an understanding of why and how you are eating so you can successfully change your eating patterns. As you learn to reduce the stress and impulsivity that often drives emotional eating, you’ll also practice new ways to savor food and finally nourish your body the way it deserves.
By: Thich Nhat Hanh
With the scientific expertise of Dr. Lilian Cheung in nutrition and Thich Nhat Hanh’s experience in teaching mindfulness the world over, Savor not only helps us achieve the healthy weight and well-being we seek, but also brings to the surface the rich abundance of life available to us in every moment.
Do you have any experience with mindful eating? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to read how it went for you and what you learned along the way.