Eating mindfully is something I’ve heard about repeatedly throughout my life.
Even before I learned much about the integrative medicine and whole food scene, it’s often discussed as the answer for a whole host of problems, from weight loss resistance to stress management.
But for whatever reason, I’ve never really GOTTEN it.
I mean, I’ve always understood that wolfing down your plate in front of the TV or eating meals in the car isn’t a great idea for digestion (we need that “rest and digest” function to kick in to process food properly!) or even satisfaction.
Every time I’ve read about eating mindfully though–to be perfectly honest–it has sounded like a miserable process.
It took a kiwi to change that for me.
The Kiwi That Changed My Life
It’s true what they say about the teacher coming when the student is ready…because I’ve eaten about a million kiwis in my life before this fated one.
It was something about bright green interior and fuzzy outfit (which I eat, by the way, instead of peeling) that made me stop and consider my new relationship with food.
Megan and I both have histories of disordered eating and struggles with food sensitivities. As a result, I had development somewhat of an adversarial view on what I put on my plate.
I dealt with a mix of guilt, confusion, frustration, and anxiety when it came to knowing what I could eat and how I would feel as a result.
As a way to minimize these negative emotions that I had in relation to food, I ate quickly and mindlessly, inhaling food while I distracted myself with various electronic devices.
(It doesn’t help that us anesthesiologists only get half an hour, door to door, to eat lunch which means that all of us have learned to shovel food into our mouths at the speed of light.)
Working On It
As I ate the kiwi that day, I thought, “I’m really enjoying this food! Why am I eating it so fast??”
Strangely enough, that changed the course of food relationship more than any book or article I’ve ever read on the subject.
It was my willingness to question my own underlying beliefs around food that lead to long lasting change. I stumbled across this on accident…but you can do this with yourself in a much more meaningful and deliberate way!
Take a moment to journal and meditate on the following questions:
- What emotions do you feel when you eat?
- What habits have you built around eating in order to protect yourself from these emotions?
- Write down the ACTUAL CONCRETE GOALS you have for yourself around food. Many of us have competing goals, such as to eat very little but to fuel our body with a wide variety of whole foods. You can see how externalizing these competing goals can help you be more clear about what YOU want.
Then, take a moment to find the peeeerfect food you want to eat and ENJOY IT.
That’s all the homework you get on this, because this is a surprisingly difficult task for many of us. Set the intention to start enjoying your food more and keep trying until it actually happens for you.
If you’re still following a “prescribed diet”, such as Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, etc, it’s time to figure out what foods work for YOUR body RIGHT NOW.
You’ll find that what foods work for you will change based on what’s happening with your body, with your stress levels, with your life, etc.
This is why we have an elimination diet inside our 4 Phase Cycle Detox…we believe it’s important to get good at this approach so that you never feel NOT in control of your food.