Mindful Eating Challenges

Are you savoring your life?

I’ve been privately mulling over my mindless eating habits for a while now, and reading MizFit’s post about mindful eating finally inspired me to write this post.

I’ve been a proponent of the intuitive eating approach for a year. That doesn’t mean I’m particularly good at eating mindfully!

When I began eating intuitively, it was easy to be conscious about every aspect of my eating. I rediscovered the joys of eating when I consciously savoured every single piece of chocolate or ice cream I put in my mouth. I tasted my forbidden foods and discovered my real food preferences (I don’t like high-fat ice cream). At some point I tried using a hunger scale to measure my feelings of hunger and satiety.

But then the novelty of intuitive eating wore off, and it was harder to stay mindful about my eating. Staying mindful is hard work, and it’s much easier to go back to the old automatic habits.

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There’s one paragraph in Mizfit ‘s post that really grabbed my attention.

I’m a misfit who grew frustrated with how she felt, STOPPED, paid attention, listened to her body (finally) & ended up where she is today.

One thing that makes me shy away from mindful eating is the fact that I suspect eating has an important role in my life – as  a convenient distraction. If I stopped every time before I put something into my mouth, how often would I be forced to admit that I don’t really crave food, I’m just bored and stuck in my life?

I would loath to give up such an easy – and relatively cheap – means of distraction.

I’m actually pretty satisfied with my eating these days and I must be doing something right because I’m gradually shrinking. I just wouldn’t call my way of eating especially mindful.

My question for you today:

Is it ok to eat chocolate and candy if you’re fully aware you’re doing that to distract yourself from your boring and unsatisfying life?

Comments

  1. MizFit says:

    wow
    thanks so much for the linklove and kind words.

    Carla

    • Satu says:

      You’re welcome, Carla! 🙂 I love the post, you made mindful eating sound so….SANE thing to do.

  2. “Is it ok to eat chocolate and candy if you’re fully aware you’re doing that to distract yourself from your boring and unsatisfying life?”

    I have done so many times (and with chips, popcorn, cheese and crackers too)…with the intention that I hope to learn something from it. If you never give yourself permission, you won’t have that data point from which to make future decisions.

    • Satu says:

      That’s true, Karen. I’ve often noticed that I would’ve been satisfied with much less, but I never remember that before I go and shop for candy anc chocolate.

      Avoiding my own emotions and experiences bothers me though..It can’t be good if you do too much of it?

      • As I like to say, it takes as long as it needs to take. I am in the process of writing about avoiding emotions…but let me say this: a while back I wrote about something I call “stomp and state” which is about actually moving through your fear/anger/sadness in the moment. Basically, the idea is that our emotions literally reside in our bodies and unless we release them, they stay and wreak havoc on us. So how to we move through the process of actually feeling our feelings and releasing them? By stating what we’re afraid of/angry at/sad about and at the same time moving our bodies. Certain physical movements accompanied by vocalizing helps get the emotions moving. LIke a child having a tantrum to release anger/frustration: pumping the fists, bouncing, stamping, flailing the arms…these are all great ways to move while vocalizing. In the post I wrote out what came up for me as I did the “stomp and state.” I was amazed, not only to hear what came out, but in how I could “feel” the emotion in my body physically…it moved and finally I released it out the top of my head.

  3. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! Well, very interesting post with interesting comments too. I’m not a very wise person, and I don’t think I have good self-control at all. I’m still quite confused about all the cruel comments and utter nonsense that people have told me over my life. Intuitive doesn’t seem like a good thing for me because I’ve steered myself wrong so many times–all while feeling quite right about it. It seems like my feelings of intuitiveness are often just a bunch of crap my mother and a few other relatives told me over and over until I believed it. It has turned out so often that my gut instinct is very wrong. I don’t know what to do about this except–try not to make the same mistakes repeatedly–even if I feel compelled to. So, I do understand what others are saying and respect that, but for me, I often have to stand back a little ways to get a different perspective than what my gut instinct says.

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      I think I understand what you’re trying to say. it sucks that you’ve been at the receiving end of that kind of treatment. 🙁 I was lucky that my relatives aren’t in the habit of giving nasty comments on other people’s looks.

      Funny thing: when you say that “I often have to stand back a little ways to get a different perspective than what my gut instinct says” it’s actually a pretty good description of a mindful approach! 🙂

  4. Deb says:

    I completely understand the notion of using food to distract yourself – I certainly do that. I wonder more about eating chocolate and other unhealthy choices if you are eating mindfully…. I like the idea of being able to eat what I want, but it’s hard to get rid of the guilty feelings surrounding those choices for me!

    Deb

    • Satu says:

      One of the reasons I wanted to try intuitive eating was that I was so tired of having mostly negative feelings about food and eating. I don’t think I’m still completely neutral about “bad” foods, but I’m certainly much more relaxed. now than 12 months ago ( = it takes a long time to change life-long thought patterns.)

  5. Jane says:

    Great post Satu! Mindful eating is hard for me to do sometimes too. Sometimes I just want to eat and eat that chocolate anyways. Sometimes being aware of every aspect of my eating (am I hungry, do I just “want: to eat, am I bored, what am I feeling) is just too much for me! So I end up eating because of boredom or depression. Then sometimes I really am aware without thinking about it much. So I guess I am still a work in progress!

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