Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Mindful eating - revisited

I have struggled for a long time with my eating habits.

I have gone from whining in my head (and sometimes outloud) about 'how come other people can eat whatever they want?' to blaming western society in general for unrealistic body expectations, to saying, 'what the heck' and eating whatever I want, whenever I want, and then getting angry and belittling myself for not having the will power to eat less and exercise more. I've also found it maddening that I've been able to cut back consumption in other areas of my life, but not in the food area. I've blogged about that frustration before.

I've tried to be more 'mindful' while eating, and to not do anything other than eat when I'm eating. That worked for about five minutes and then I go back to doing what I've always done, which is chowing down while watching TV or reading. In short, nothing has worked (notice the disconnection here - it leaves me out of the equation entirely)...until now. Well, until about nine weeks ago. That's when (through the magic of facebook,) I noticed my sister doing an awesome job of losing weight, with the help of a website called myfitnesspal.com .

Don't worry, I'm not going to use my nice, non-commercial blog to talk up some product or service. In fact there is no product or service to talk up, really - it turns out it's all about that whole connection/disconnection thing again. By that I mean that I was completely disconnected from the facts about how many calories I was burning compared to how many I was taking in. And I was delusional in a sense, because I seemed to have the idea that just because I felt guilty about what I ate, and really wanted to exercise but was too [insert excuse here] to get up and move, that the laws of biology and physics would change for me and I would lose weight merely because I wished I could so badly. It was the calorie counting tools at MFP that stripped me of those delusions and reconnected me with the truth of "doing the math." There was no way I could balance my input of calories with my output of energy until I knew how much of each I was consuming/expending. And so now, nine weeks later, the number on the scale is heading nicely downwards. :) It's another example of joyful moderation that I am glad to incorporate into my life.

So, at last, I am at eating and moving mindfully. Not in the sense that I am doing only that and nothing else at the time, but with an over-arching yet basic awareness of the connection between what I eat and what I do. And I really think that it is this kind of fundamental awareness between consumption and its consequences that we as a species have to get connected with, and soon. I'm glad that I can do this myself in an everyday way now, and witness the results!

P.S. - If anyone is using MFP, my username is themyriadthings, and I'd be happy to be your MFP friend :)