February 28, 2014
I started this month simply thrilled with my free bag of chocolate! I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Dr. Albers’ mindfulness experiment. I was looking forward to doing some just-for-fun writing and of course some delicious eating. I figured if I gained any knowledge about myself or my eating habits, it would be a wonderful bonus. No matter what, I said to myself on Feb. 1, you get to keep the chocolate…
Yet in spite of my rather low expectations, I did learn a lot this month. It was fun this morning to read through all my posts from start to finish and laugh at the way I tore into the chocolate at the first stressful moment, just a few weeks ago. Now, I’ve not exactly become a Zen master, but I have figured out a few things, which I will share:
- Cravings pass quickly. Sure, when you’re in the middle of one, it seems like there’s no way you can survive without eating your unhealthy food of choice. But, just as fast as a craving comes on, it can disappear. Hence, the need to pause first, before giving in. Remember when I poo-pooed Dr. Albers’ Chocolate Craving Meter and made up my own? At the beginning of the month, my cravings went from moderate to very high. But, I can honestly say that the original meter, without my cutting and pasting, makes more sense now. I still don’t have any moments where I think “chocolate wouldn’t taste good right now,” but I do have a surprising amount of moments where I could “take it or leave it.”
- Acknowledging both the craving, and the reason behind it (boredom? stress?) works so much better than pretending the elephant in the room (that twenty-foot tall brownie) really isn’t there. You can’t control what you don’t acknowledge.
- Being in control of your food choices brings more pleasure to eating, not less, plus there’s none of that icky guilt residue.
- It is absolutely possible for a chocolate lover to eat mindfully, but the type of chocolate matters (get the dark stuff, the best you can afford).
- Mindfulness is for everybody, even skeptical misanthropes like me. In fact, I’m thinking I need to start applying it to other elements of my life, beyond eating.
- A single month, even one containing many tumbles off the wagon, can set you well on the way to instilling new eating habits. As my month went on, I had more successful days than days when I lost control. Just think what two months will do.
And with that, I’m going to go eat my day’s piece of chocolate, ever sooooo slowly. Thank you for spending this month with me. I hope you’ve been trying some of Dr. Albers’ techniques and have found them as helpful as I have. Here’s to our mutual, mindful eating success!