Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mindful Eating

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.~~Luciano Pavarotti~~

One of the reasons I have finally learned to keep my weight off is that after all these years I finally figured out something that you have heard me say before. It is never about not eating, it is about learning to eat well. I used to think, like most of us probably, that in order to lose weight I had to go on a diet and restrict myself, and deprive myself. Well, I could manage to do that for a while, but that is not something I could do forever. When I started WW this last time, over 5 years ago, I really paid attention, and figured out that I would have to learn to think about food differently.

So I started applying some of the principles I use in my spiritual journey to my relationship with food. One of the things that is important to me is being present, living in this moment. So I have tried to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is for me to pay attention to what I am eating. To stop simply grabbing something. I don't think I am the only one who has gone to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of something without thinking, only to realize later that I ate the whole bag of Nutter Butters, or quart of Ben and Jerry's, or half a loaf cinnamon toast. So, I have learned to pay attention to what I am eating. To give my full attention to that moment. Why am I eating? Am I eating because I am hungry, or am I just bored, lonely, stressed, depressed. Am I using food for what it is intended for, or an I using food for something it was never meant to be. I can help myself do this by being faithful to journal. I journal before I eat something. I fix whatever I am going to eat, then I write it down, then I eat it. When I am faithful to this, it is so much easier to stay OP. When I give my attention to what I am eating, I eat better. Instead of just grabbing a handful of something, I prepare a snack, I make it something to delight my palate, I use the good china ever day, and I sit down at the table or in my sacred space, and give my attention to what I am eating. When I eat mindfully, I remember that the act of eating is part of this day, a day that will never come again, a day that I choose to live in every moment. Then eating becomes my focus for the moment, a choice not a habit, and I have given food it's proper place in my life.

In my spiritual life I attempt to be mindful of the presence of Creator in every moment. There is a traditional spiritual exercise called practicing the presence of God. This means recognizing that God is here now moving through our everyday activities, no matter how trivial they might seem. So that I am grateful for every moment, appreciating whatever activity I am present in. By learning to be present in the act of eating, and to appreciate the act of feeding my body, my mind, my spirit with what I have chosen to eat, I instinctively make better choices.And that is what it all boils down to, making the best choice we can for that moment. So, for today, I choose to do what Pavarotti suggests, give my attention to what I am eating, and if I am paying attention I will make better choices. Better choices is what I deserve, because I deserve the best. We all do.

Peace and Blessings,

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