For me, physical hunger comes on slowly whereas emotional hunger comes on rapidly and cravings are definitely strong. When this happens, I tend to minimize the ill effects from the last binge and justify my reasoning to eat despite being full or even painfully stuffed and miserable. Today, I made an effort to tune in to signals of hunger and fullness and rate my hunger on the Hunger Scale. I was so busy at work and that structure keeps me from over eating, but cravings were strong when I got home.
When I arrived home after my long day, I was physically hungry. Tempted to eat a lot and quickly, I slowed down, ate mindfully. listened to my body and stopped when I was full. Major personal growth!!! So, while I did have a moment where I experienced emotional hunger, I was too busy to act on it at the time.
The true test for me will be those moments where I have emotional hunger, no structure and time on my hands. That’s why I’m looking forward to finishing my iBook version of Eat.Q. I’m looking forward to developing coping skills, my emotional intelligence and utilize the EAT method to embrace, accept and manage my feelings as well as distract or self soothe rather than numbing with food like I’ve done so many times before. I finally feel like I have a great chance at recovery from my Eating Disorder. What a life changer.
I thought today would be easy.
Make a list of 5 Ways I relax, 5 People who comfort me, 5 Activities that soothe me, 5 Places that are comforting and find my ZEN on my day off. No problem:). Then I realized I had to shop for a birthday gift that would be hard to find. Four stores and three hours later mixed with early holiday shoppers, I had ZERO ZEN. Finding my zen or being able to self soothe is CRITICAL for me!! My emotions can definitely spin me in a circle and lead to poor food decisions.
After arriving home and cooking a huge Family Pasta Bar dinner (cooking ahead for the rest of the week), I mindfully ate a moderate plate of Pumpkin Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Sauce and slid into a candle light bubble bath. Afterwards, I brushed my hair 100 strokes, took 5 deep breaths, sipped hot tea and there it was ….. my zen.
The good news is that I CAN self soothe, but then again, today was a good day. Can I self sooth without food after a bad day at work or when I make an embarrassing mistake? In the meantime, practicing finding my zen is …. well…. AHHH
Today’s challenge is a learning experience for me. When I was first introduced to the idea of mindful eating, my biggest fear was that I would eat nothing but junk food 24/7. It took me a while to embrace and incorporate the concept that I could eat what I desired and often my body will naturally desire “feel good” food instead of just “comfort food.
As I learn to eat mindfully and tune into hunger, fullness and how food affects my body, I tend to want antioxidant rich, fiber filled foods chock full of vitamins and minerals. Wait! My big fear was that all I would want was pizza, pie, chips and chocolate. I realized that when I remind myself that there is NO “good food”, “bad food” (food has no moral value) and give myself permission to FUEL my body with what it needs, my body naturally wants to strike balance and feel energized. While junk food tastes great, it makes me feel foggy and sluggish like a post Thanksgiving tryptophan slumber whereas quality fuel leaves me feeling vibrant, alert, clear headed and filled with energy.
Signing off to have my mindful evening snack: an orange.
Today’s challenge is REALLY important with the upcoming HOLIDAYS. Being mindful of how others’ eating habits and comments effect my eating and also making a list of those who help versus those who hinder was helpful. I definitely noticed how quickly and mindlessly my lunch companion was eating and the huge bites they took. So, I did the opposite. I slowed down, took smaller bites and put my fork down between bites. I said an intention, recited my mantras from yesterday’s challenge, considered the origin of my earthy sweet potato and silently expressed gratitude for my meal.
As I made my list of those who help versus hinder I thought about Dr. Susan Albers’ advice on “food pushers”. I know it sounds harsh, but around the holidays sweet Aunt Sally suddenly “pushes” her Pecan Pie like a dealer pushes a drug. “Oh come on. A small slice won’t hurt. I worked hard to make it especially for you. You’ll hurt my feeling if you don’t eat some.” Guilt and peer pressure are two tactics at play by the food pusher. Worse than the food pusher is the “food police”.
My favorite strategy Dr. Albers mentions is to “Divert & Deflect”, by asking for the recipe for example. Brilliant. Of course a firm solid “No Thanks” should do the trick.
I struggled yesterday, but I worked on adding structure & savored every mindful bite at my mindful table. So fully experienced was my turkey burger that I picked up on the spicy flavor on the first bite. Turns out it was a Jalapeño turkey burger:-)
I wrote down 5 mantras for today.
1) Intuitively eating what my body
needs and wants is ED recovery.
(ED is an Eating Disorder)
2) Being grateful for food means
appreciating all that made the food
available and savoring each bite.
3) “Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time.”
4) “Be happy in the moment. That’s enough. Each moment is all we need; not more.”
5) “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
I definitely struggled today due to the lack of structure since it’s my day off. I need to do laundry, study, clean and frankly I don’t feel well. This is exactly the type of mood that would normally have me reaching for sweet, sugary carbs. It’s a good thing there are none in the house.
I said my mantras. I socialized with family. I soaked in a soothing hot bubble bath to relieve stress. I might make a placemat with my mantras on them. I think that would be helpful for me. I definitely need to work on my to do list mindfully & add structure to my weekends.
At breakfast, my husband politely turned his PC monitor out of my line of sight and I minimized distractions so that I could focus on my meal. I’m thankful to have such a supportive husband. I do have to admit that I’m SO used to multi-tasking and felt guilty and bored focusing on one task only, but I mindfully enjoyed my eggs and ham.
For lunch, I had a small personal victory. Leaving work at 1:45 and heading to a doctors appointment, I realized that I hadn’t eaten lunch and wouldn’t have an opportunity until after four o’clock. So, I actually took the time to pull over at the beach to mindfully eat lunch. I walked along the shore, picked up a few shells and took one mindful bite at a time before finishing my journey to the doctor’s office. I actually pulled over to eat instead of eating while driving. V for victory:)
Dinner included an anxiety filled but necessary discussion with our 21 year old child about rules and responsibilities while returning home as a grown adult. That DID NOT lead to a mindful meal.
Life does sometimes present challenges. I’ll take my victories and aim to do better tomorrow.
After dinner I found myself thinking about the seasonal Gingerbread Cookie ice cream we had bought for the kids. I’m full and satisfied from a well rounded nutritionally adequate dinner. I’m not hungry. Why am I craving ice cream? For one thing it tastes great and secondly, I’m still feeling a bit emotional. I decided to try the Elaborate Intrusion Pause method. I looked around the room for something to focus on. The lamp? No. The photo album. Nah. Coat rack? Laundry basket? Awe … My cat. Sure; why not?
For two minutes I focused on the color and shape of my cat. My cat has a shiny black coat of fur, from this view he’s curled up in the fetal position and my cat has no tail. I watched as he bathed himself & blinked his eyes repeatedly. Similar to mindful eating, I took in the sight, sound and feel of him with all my senses. I promised myself that I can have ice cream in two minutes if I still want some. I gave myself permission to eat it after two minutes and reminded myself that no food is off limits or forbidden.
Two minutes passed. I reminded myself that if I’m still craving ice cream, I can take another pause with a hot bubble bath. I’m okay ….I’m okay for tonight.
Today has definitely been one of those times when coming home from a long, tiring, anxiety filled day at work means shifting into autopilot. The grab and go, convenient microwaved meal after downing a few handfuls of chips would be fair game. After all, it’s been a long day and ugh … “I deserve it”.
“I deserve it”? My decision making skills have definitely gown downhill. NO; wait!! Okay, here’s the pause Dr. Albers recommended. Here’s an opportunity to choose my meal based on what my body needs and wants. No matter how tired and frustrated I am. My mind shifts, reluctantly at first, to self care. What fuel does my body need? What fuel do I desire? Thank goodness I have a great compromise. As I set my potato and chicken to bake, I mix up a pre-washed ready to eat salad mix and dressing. It’s convenient yet healthy and tasty. A moment of pride and satisfaction wash over me. I could have easily gone for chips and ice cream with the kind of day I’ve had. If I ate them mindfully, that would be one thing, yet after a trying day, I would have stuffed them down mindlessly. What a victory. Pilot at the controls:)
Before eating, I set aside all reading materials, electronics and sat at the dining table for the first time in months. I laminated a Mindful Eating place mat & lit candles. At breakfast, I noticed the shape of the diced ham & potatoes, and the golden brown hue of my toast with egg white scramble. The vibrant, festive red and green of the olives stood out in contrast with the egg whites. I tuned in to the crunchy crust and chewy center of of my toast, and the soft, fluffy texture of the egg whites. Also apparent to me was the squishy “mouthfeel” of the diced potatoes and dense texture of the ham. My pumpkin coffee was fully experienced including it’s rich aroma.
Flavors ranged from spicy to “earthy”. Textures ranged from gritty to crumbly. Realizing that I had finished all of my eggs and most of my toast, I tuned in to my hunger. Where would I rate it on a hunger scale of 1-10? Did I “need” to finish this half slice of toast? hmmm It was surprisingly difficult to be present enough to tune into hunger and fullness sensations. I took one more bite, another sip and listened quietly to my body. I felt full and satisfied. In the absence of comforting myself with food, I was was feeling a little bit “emotionally empty” if that makes any sense, and yet somehow I felt a sense of calm as well.
At lunch and dinner, I didn’t aim to eat the fat free, sugar free, flavor free fare that I try to live off of. I trusted myself with delicious favorites such as Tamales, Sweet Potato and veggie Soup & allowed myself a dessert.
I didn’t over eat. I didn’t stuff myself at a rapid fire, mindless pace.
I didn’t deny myself delicious foods because of calorie counts and fat grams.
I ate slowly, immersing myself in as many flavors, textures, aromas, shapes and sounds as my five senses could savor. I didn’t take on other tasks while I was eating. On a hunger scale of 1-10, I’m at a solid, comfortable 7; neither famished nor stuffed.
I did my best to stay present. My goal … Be Here Now:)
I was looking forward to today’s challenge since the prevailing theory is that it take 20 minutes for our brain to register satiety. Despite the anxiety filled morning I’ve had, I set an an intention of 20 minutes and decided to take slow, deliberate bites. I’m so used to the having a distraction such as television or reading and rushing through my meals. Perhaps all to avoid emotions, because there are a few bubbling to the surface today.
I ate my breakfast at home and used a smaller spoon and a timer app to help slow my pace which was 23 minutes. As for lunch, it didn’t seem worth the harried drive home, so I stayed at the clinic. Hearing my co-workers bustling around wasn’t helping at all, so I went into the massage room, put my headphones on with slow relaxing music to set the pace and put my fork down between bites. While I did study a bit, 30 minutes later I was happy that I hadn’t rushed through my meal AND realized I was full, satisfied and there was no need to finish the rest just because it was there.
As I prepare my final meal, I’m feeling confident about a mindful dinner:)
My name is Tina, I’m 47 years young and I work as a Physiotherapy Assistant.
I have struggled with eating, food, scales and calories since the age of 14. I am a Certified Fitness Trainer and I received my certification at my highest weight of 248. I was desperate and willing to do anything to lose weight so that I could fit into to tough fitness industry standards. I lost 100 pounds, developed an eating disorder and gained the weight back.
Realizing my struggle with food was serious, I sought treatment for my eating disorder 2 years ago. My diagnosis is EDNOS; an (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) and I was described as having anorexic thinking & bulimic behavior.
I’m glad to say that I’m no longer struggling at my highest weight. I’m hoping to regain health AND reach a place of recovery with food/eating. I hope to no longer define myself by a number on the scale. I know mindful eating will help me on my path to recovery, help me stay in tune with my body, be present and engage all my senses to savor meals and heal my relationship with food.
I plan to complete my 4th half marathon soon.
1 food I couldn’t live without is cereal.
1 food I hate is radish because of its sharp taste.
One goal for the EatQ Challenge is to set up a mindful table with place mates, candles and calm.