20
Nov

Day 10-Andrea

This morning, as soon as I read the challenge, I made my list with the ten things that can distract me from eating. My list includes making crafts, exercising, riding a bike, and visiting new places among others, but right now it is hard because I am so busy with college, work and family. Probably right now it is easier to find things from my comforting list which won’t take too much time and they will help to distract from emotional eating.

The challenge today was tricky. Many times I know that it is not physical hunger when I want to eat, however, it is still hard to stop myself from getting some food. While I am working, I hardly have time to eat a snack, even though in Montessori schools children eat when they feel hungry. I am teaching and I am super busy during the whole working period. If a child invites me for snack, then I will be able to sit at the table and have a little snack, if not, I don’t even think about food. Today, when it was close to lunch, I realized that my stomach was growling. Great signs! I was really hungry.

The chart that Dr. Albers sent today came in very handy. It was very clear which is physical or emotional hunger. The tools that we learned during the 10 day challenge will help in this journey of mindful eating. I know it is not easy, but the beginning has been great. I will keep trying this way of eating, and hopefully it will become a habit. Dr. Albers, in her book Eat.Q., has the best advice for all the people that have eating issues like me. I will always be thankful for this 10 day challenge which initiated me into eating mindfully.

Andrea

19
Nov

Day 9-Andrea

This morning while I was having breakfast, I enjoyed the bread that my co-teacher made for us. It was bread with different types of cereals, delicious! I ate a slice mindfully. After I finished, my daughter just took a bite to her slice and said, “I don’t want anymore.” The slice on the plate with butter and jelly on top was inviting me to take a bite. I picked it up and I took a bite. As soon as I did it, I thought, “This is a bad decision. I am satisfied with the slice I ate, and I don’t need to keep eating. I need to stop right now. It is not too late.” I asked my husband to take the piece of bread away because I was not going to eat it. He was helping my daughter so I said, “You’d better hurry before I change my mind.”  It is so hard when you have food that you want but you need to say NO. I am glad I did. Even though a slice of bread was not a lot of food, I felt that I won a battle. I know it is hard to eat mindfully every day with each meal, but if I can do it at least once every day, I feel that it is a good beginning of  change.

18
Nov

Day 8-Andrea

After the absence of yesterday, due to the storm and the loss of internet, it was great to receive the tips for mood boosting food today.  As it turns out, today was one of those days that the tips really were helpful.

This morning, I received a visit from the principal of the lab school where I am doing my master’s in Montessori. She came to observe my practice, help me to assess the arrangement of the classroom, and to suggest some techniques to improve my practice as a teacher. Well, even though I was very relaxed, and I felt very confident in what I was doing, I could not avoid a little bit of anxiety after the morning was over. I talked to her to discover her point of view of how the morning went. Shoo… after that was over, it was my turn to drive my 3 hours to the university. While I was driving I started to crave something sweet! I wanted a coffee with a muffin, or with a pastry, or with cake. Mmmm I had to stop for gas and I went to get a coffee. Right there, when I was going to pick up a muffin, I remembered that chocolate works better for mood boosting so I bought one bar of chocolate instead. I started driving, and even though I hate driving and eating, I took the time to smell the chocolate for a little bit before biting it. It smelled delicious. I also took the time to enjoy the first bite. I just decided to eat half the bar and save the rest for the way home that night. I was surprised that I was able to do it, because before I would have just eaten the whole bar without even thinking about smelling, savoring, and stopping when I had eaten half.

The list of mood boosting foods came in very handy today and I am sure it will help in the future.

16
Nov

Day 6- Andrea

It is hard to be conscious and present during every meal you eat. Today for lunch, I went with my family to eat at a restaurant. I ordered chicken fingers to share with my daughter. I ate mindfully, and by the time my husband was done with his burger, I was eating my second chicken finger. I felt the crunchiness of the breaded chicken and even thought it was not the healthiest option, I was present while I ate. I enjoyed my food and I ate enough to be full, but not too much which I would have probably done before this challenge.

I like all the phrases that Dr. Albers sent today, but I especially like, “less is more,” which is about eating large amounts of food, but about enjoying and savoring the food we like, and in that way we eat less. I am definitely paying more attention and being more present while I am eating. Even though sometimes it is hard, I notice the change and hopefully this will get better with the practice.

15
Nov

Day 5- Andrea

Today was a super busy day. I didn’t teach today, because I had to take a class at the University. So, I woke up at 5 am and I had a coffee and some grapes, even though the night before I baked chocolate chips cookies with my daughter (we needed some fun girls time together). I felt good about that and even thought I ate them while I was driving, I could enjoy the crunchiness of the grapes’ skin and the juice when getting to the soft part.

I had dinner at my husband’s parent’s house. I always have a second serving because the food is always delicious. Tonight, we had burritos. I made one and I felt good when I was done. I enjoyed it and I ate slowly, however I was not as focused because we were chatting. There was ice cream for dessert and I ate it slowly as well and enjoying each cold and creamy bite. I know that I could have said NO to the ice cream. However, I feel that since the Eat.Q. challenge started I have been thinking and being more present while eating. This has helped me eat A LITTLE LESS. I think it is a good start.

For the coming week, my husband and I plan to think about healthier menus to have as ideas for dinner. Hopefully, that will help to change the quality of the food we eat every day.

 

14
Nov

Day 4- Andrea

I really needed the advice about what to do when there are temptations. I need to have more self-control during those moments, and definitely the tools that Dr. Albers recommends are great. I didn’t try any of them today, because I didn’t have much temptation. However, I thought that the trick about mints could help, because many times I just want something sweet after lunch or dinner and that could help me avoid some cookies or coffee cake.

I also think that having a plan ahead of time would make things easier. Today, I was coming home at 5 pm from work (I stayed too late at school getting things ready for the next day) and I was starving. My husband had my baby and he was tired too. None of us wanted to cook, so I suggested fast food. What!? Yes, I did. My husband was shocked! I mostly don’t want fast food, but today for some reason I thought it was ok. I had a chicken sandwich and fries (NOT GOOD CHOICE, I KNOW) but I ate it slowly and mindfully. Before we started the dinner, we again smelled the food and I asked my husband and daughter to find two adjectives for the food. While I ate, I thought about the crunchiness of the chicken in the middle of the soft bun. Making a plan for healthy food would avoid these last minutes choices.  Hopefully, my husband and I can work on that soon.

13
Nov

Day 3-Andrea

Making food decisions today was tricky. Being a super busy mom, many times I eat whatever is at hand. I want to pick that is healthy, but I end up choosing what everyone else likes at home or what sounds tastier. Since I eat lunch while I am at the school, I pack my food early in the morning and most of the time that is a good choice. My problem is when we have dinner at home. I have a hard time having just one serving or stopping when I am full. Tonight, my husband made some pasta. Yummy! I had a plate, and I asked to my 3 year old daughter and my husband to think about the two adjectives. We smelled the food, enjoying how it looked on the plate and I ate it slowly. When I finished, I still wanted some more, but I didn’t get any. Tonight, while my husband and my daughter had their second serving, I was still enjoying my first one. I definitely ate less than other times when we eat pasta and that made me happy.

My problem was during lunch time. It was really hard to focus and eat mindfully when having lunch with my students.  Hopefully, with practice that won’t be an issue in the future.

13
Nov

Day 2- Andrea

During these two days, I have been trying two tips to eat mindfully. I discovered that when I eat more slowly, and I try to be present in the moment, the food tastes different. While having my coffee this morning, I thought that it tasted better than other days. Was it because I was paying extra attention to the smell before drinking it? Was it because I was feeling the temperature with my hands before I brought the mug to my mouth?

At breakfast I did the same ritual as yesterday, and I ate at a slower speed. It went pretty well!

I like the idea of focusing on one skill at the time. It just reminds me of when I am teaching at the Montessori school. We believe that it is hard for children to concentrate on both our movements and on our words when teaching a lesson. So, if I am demonstrating some work with my hands, mostly, I do it without speaking. If I want to explain something about the lesson, then I keep my hands still so children can focus on my words. I thought about this as I was trying to be present while eating. When my husband was talking to me, it was hard to eat and think about the look of the food, the texture, flavors, smell, etc. I had a moment of realization that if I want to be mindful while eating; I need to focus on it without distraction.  I need to be present!

Today again, I had classes at the university. During snack time it happened the same way. I was trying to eat and be in the moment, but also with my classmates. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well for me.  I guess I need to learn how to balance both things. I think practice is the key, just like many other skills we learn.

11
Nov

Day 1 – Andrea

Hi there! Today was a very exciting day. The first thing I did when I woke up was run to get my computer and see the challenge of the day. I printed the file to use every time I ate during the whole day. I also saved the file so I could go back and read it later.

As a busy mom, I don’t have much time. So, I read the tips carefully for the day, along with some other tips I found on Dr. Albers ’website, and off I went to fight my eating habits.

My first experience of timing my pace was during breakfast. In my home country, we don’t eat a big breakfast, so I always have a coffee with one slice of toast. While I was preparing the coffee I could smell the delicious aroma and I started to be mindful of it. When I sat at the table with my coffee and toast, I thought about the two adjectives to describe my toast (I like my toast with American cheese on top, weird!?)  I took a moment and observed the nuts and grains in the bread, and the color of the cheese. After smelling it, I took the first bite. I put the toast on the plate, and I paid close attention to the texture and flavor. Before taking my second bite, my 3 years old daughter was starting her breakfast, so I thought she could do the same exercise of finding adjectives for her breakfast. She was going to eat a piece of toast and an egg. The adjectives she picked were hot, yellow, and white. I thought that it would be great if from a young age we learn how to eat mindfully. While we were having breakfast, we were talking and I was sharing the tips to eat slower with my husband. I was surprised that probably took three times longer to eat than it usually takes me each morning. At the end, I felt satisfied and ready to take on the day.

I did the same exercise at lunch eating my sandwich, putting my sandwich on the plate and taking breaks between bites. I didn’t time it, but I know I ate slower.

Today was my day to drive to my university. I got a coffee for my 3 hour drive. Normally, by the time I arrive to the edge of the town where I live, I am almost done with my coffee. This time I took the time to smell it and savor the flavor. I had driven almost one hour from home and still had warm coffee in my travel mug. Between sips, I called my family in Argentina on the phone, my husband to check on my daughter, and I thought a lot about how eating slowly affected my humor today. I felt like I had power and control over my eating.

In the class I am taking at the university there are only 20 people. Since it is a Montessori class, the program is trying to create community amongst the students by having a snack break in the middle of the section where we all eat together. Each class, one student brings a snack for the rest of their classmates. There are always many delicious things like cookies, chips and dips, fruits, and chocolates. Today while I was eating, again I took my time. I put my hands on my lap and I stopped to watch how my classmates were eating. Surprisingly, I was the last one to finish eating and it was not because I had more food than them, but because of the techniques I was trying.

I am extremely happy how the day went. I shared the tips with my sister from Argentina who already asked me to type everything in Spanish for her. Another friend of mine was going to try to sign up for the challenge although she hasn’t been speaking English very long. This seems to be an issue for people all over the world who have been dieting and being counting calories for years. Hopefully this way they too will learn to enjoy food at a slow pace and will help many of us alter those bad habits of eating that make us struggle with food.

 

9
Nov

Eat.Q. Blogger: Meet Andrea!

I am very excited to be part of this challenge! I am a super busy mom (3 year old girl and 6 month old baby girl) and a Montessori Preschool-Kindergarten teacher. On top of that, I am pursuing a master’s degree which requires a 3 hour drive, one way, to reach my university. I must travel twice a week to take classes, and I do homework and readings when my daughters are sleeping until late at night. I couldn’t do it without the support of my wonderful husband. I have been struggling with food since I was 12 years old.

I came from Argentina and over there most people really care about being fit and looking skinny. I have tried all kinds of diets. In my home country it is very popular to go to a nutritionist. So, I have tried many of them. I know exactly what I need to eat to be healthy, but I believe eating issues relate to the psyche and that we need to learn to have self-control. I used to eat a lot of vegetables in my home country. When I moved to the US, I started adjusting my diet to my husband’s taste and he doesn’t like veggies much. I still enjoy vegetables so much but it is easier to cook and eat what everyone else likes since I like everything. I love exercising, but right now, I don’t have time. I plan to go back to exercising as soon as I finish my master’s degree.

1 Food that I Can Live Without: Things that I eat with my coffee like pastries, doughnuts, cakes!

1 Food I Hate: That is the only thing that came to my mind. I like everything!

One Goal for the EatQ Challenge: Start controlling the amount of food I eat and try to watch the quality and quantity again without being on a strict diet counting calories. I hate it! Of course, lose some weight.