31 August 2012

mindful eating

everyone who’s had pretty much any interaction with me in the last two years knows that i only eat sweets on holidays. i tell everyone about this little rule because it keeps me accountable. yes, i am liberal with my holidays (flag day totally counts! and my goodness, vive la france on bastille day!) and i occasionally push the limit on what is considered a “sweet,” but for the most part, i’ve been non-holiday dessert free for over 750 days. and i’m pretty proud of myself.

here’s the thing. i have had an actually very legitimate addiction to sugar in my lifetime. truly, i dare you to find someone with a bigger sweet tooth. i knew i needed some sort of framework to rein it in when i realized one evening, feeling quite ill sucking on a waxy sweedish fish, that i’d bought and single-handedly consumed an entire bag of candy every single day that week. so i decided – sweets only on holidays. and i’ve been empowered by this choice and have impressed myself with my devotion to it. and when those holidays roll around, do i ever enjoy my treats!

{side note – my first birthday after going sweet-free, i ate an entire pinata of candy. seriously. i let my niece and nephew each have a couple of pieces of candy and conquered the rest on my own. the next day on the way to work i had to pull over on the side of the road to throw up in the gutter. lesson learned. now i’m careful to not go hog wild on holidays!}

though i’m quite proud of my ability to turn down sweets, i have realized that my somehow compulsive need (and really, love) for gluttony has gravitated me towards other indulgences. a whole bag of nuts or peanut-butter-filled pretzels…or seconds and thirds at a party because hey, i didn’t have any cake! i find myself stuffing myself with non-sweets, which pretty much cancels out the health benefits and the self-control empowerment from cutting sweets out!

so i’ve decided to work on learning to always savor my meals, to slowly relish the sensations of taste, to never eat just for the sake of eating without enjoying the experience, to practice mindful eating. my body and my brain can strike beautiful harmonies if i connect them together like cogs in my mortal clock.

food

twelve days ago i started a 28-day challenge as a kick start to de-toxify my body and begin engraining healthy, savoring habits. week one i ate only fruits, vegetables and nuts and this week i’ve added in legumes, soy and fish. i’m very conscious about everything i consume, both type and portion, and i’m letting my taste buds process and bask in sensation. i’m thinking about my attitude toward food and how it effects my mood, about the genius of all the tastes and colors and textures that god has provided, and a lot about will-power and self-discipline.

yes, i’ve found many life lessons from mindful eating – i’ve pondered on and learned about the power of giving up a fleeting desire for a greater goal, about the correlation of feeling with action, about the great negative power of exceptions, about how it’s okay to keep starting over if we are indeed starting over and improving, and about how not only taste but all other sensations can and should be savored, how moments and relationships and views should be relished.

twelve days down and sixteen to go – and they say a habit is created at twenty-one, right? i’m determined to build a lifestyle of mindful eating and to allow those sensibilities to bleed into a lifestyle of overall savoring.

5 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. way to go char. i just finished _in defense of food_ which concludes with pollan emphasizing the advantages the french enjoy by savoring smaller portions, really enjoying food by eating slowly, and governing eating decisions internally rather than externally (i.e. rather than visually feeling the need to finish their plate as american's are prone to do, the french stop once they feel full and don't go for seconds).

    also, the food pictured looks amazing ;) i love you. love, miff

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  3. I'm so sorry that you got that sweet tooth from me! You've inspired me to give up refined sugar for a while. I have to say....Dr. Bridell would definitely approve!

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  4. you may have already read this book, but if not, it's an absolute little gem, written by my friend's mother. http://www.savorthebook.com/

    we could all use more mindful eating in our lives!

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  5. this is such an excellent idea. you are so inspiring. thank you so much for publishing your thoughts and making them available.

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