I started reading a wonderful book called “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food” by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. It’s a Shambala book, which comes from a background of Zen Buddhism. The book teaches us how to tune into our bodies and learn WHAT to eat, WHEN and HOW MUCH.
Through my journey I’ve discovered that I do not have a good relationship with food. I don’t know that I ever did. I’ve always viewed food as The Enemy, instead of Fuel. You would think after several years of relearning how to eat, I’d know this by now. Some habits are really, really hard to break.
If you have food issues of any kind, I highly recommend this book. Order it from Amazon.com and read the book. It’s short and there’s so much wisdom in it! Don’t worry if you’re not Buddhist. It has helpful ideas that everyone can benefit from.
“Have you watched healthy young children eat? They run in from a morning of playing hard, sit down at the table, and with obvious appetite they eat just enough. Then off they run to play again.[pg 15]” How did we lose that ability as adults? We inhale food while multi-tasking, in front of a TV, in the car, etc, without tasting, enjoying, or experiencing our food.
Each chapter has an exercise to do. Here are just a few exercises and tips:
1. Try making a mindful meal once a week for yourself as if you were a guest. [pg 24] 2. Be aware of the sensations in the “stomach” during the day. How does the “stomach” signal to you that it is “hungry”? [pg 37]
3. When you feel hungry, delay eating for awhile. Simply be aware of the sensation you call “hunger”. [pg 37] MY NOTE: Often times we are bored or dehydrated. If you wait to eat, sometimes you realize this.
4. After you’ve eaten half your food, stop eating and take a few seconds to assess stomach hunger again. [pg 38] MY NOTE: Many times when I want to get seconds, my boyfriend wisely says “Wait 15 minutes and then see if you want that second slice of pizza” and he’s right—I usually don’t want it!