Archives for February, 2010

Breakfast of Consciousness Again: Tracking Mindfuls

Sunday morning: trigger time - paper on the doorstep, coffee brewing, snowed in (still, kinda), so, nowhere special to go - a recipe for a mindless eating morning.
I get a glass soup bowl and warm up some lentil soup. As I notice the second-day jelling of soup flavors and the aroma of the toasted sprouted grain bread (yesterday I totally missed out on its smell, must've been the flavor of the fresh-made soup that got my attention), I am seeing the fingertips of my right hand that craddles the glass soup bowl as I spoon with my non-dominant (left).

Each spoonful, more of my hand emerges, now the palm becomes seen - the hand empties, stomach fills up and the mind still stays open to what is.

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Track Your Mindful Eating Moments

Track Your Mindfuls - you are kindly invited!

For years we've been asked to track what we eat and how much we eat.  That’s all fine and good, but what about tracking how mindfully we eat?

I encourage you to try tracking your mindful eating moments.  First, set a simple goal: try to have one mindful eating moment per meal.  Mindful eating is often misunderstood as a kind of all-or-nothing approach to eating, where you'd commit to eating mindfully and then you'd have to eat mindfully all the time.  I think this is perfectionist overkill.  I think of mindful eating as an alarm clock.  A few moments of mindful eating  is enough to wake up the eating zombie.  After all, when we set an alarm-clock to go off in the morning, we don’t expect it to keep buzzing non-stop.  Same with mindful eating:  at a minimum, start the meal on a mindful note and appreciate the residual sense of presence.

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Mindful Emotional Eating Partnership

I am still getting a good bit of correspondence regarding my harm-reduction, moderation-focused, Middle Way approach to dealing with emotional eating.  While the idea is beginning to sink in, there are still lingering questions about how to cultivate mindful emotional eating partnerships and whether doing so would be a form of enabling.  So, I am re-posting this essay (with a section on "enabling").  Be well.



EMOTIONAL EATING ISN'T A PROBLEM, MINDLESS EMOTIONAL EATING IS

As you might recall from the "Eating the Moment" self-help program for overcoming overeating, there are 3 reasons we eat:  just because, mindlessly; to satisfy biological/physiological hunger; and to change how we feel/for emotional reasons.  Emotional eating is extremely common.  In fact, it is pretty much hard-wired into our eating culture.  Take the concept of dessert, for example.  What is dessert?  Dessert is something yummy, tasty.  Does your body need dessert?  Of course, not.  So, why do we eat desserts?  Because we want to enjoy the taste of what we are eating.  That's an emotional reason.  Dessert is for the mind, not for the body.

Same goes for any kind of taste-focused cooking.  As a culture, we spend endless hours pursuing various gustatory highlights.  Why?  Once again, because we want to enjoy what we are eating.  That's emotional eating.  Why?  Because your body doesn't really need for the food to taste good.  What your body needs is the right amount of food and a certain combination of nutritional value.  Our obsession with the taste of food is nothing other than an attempt to kill two birds with one stone: to fill up our stomach and to caress the palate of your sensation-seeking mind.  Nothing's wrong with that!  Let cosmonauts eat spam!  The point I am making is that emotional eating is pretty much hard-wired into all of our eating.  If you want for your food to have a nice taste, let alone if you want a dessert, you are looking at food to satisfy your emotional desires for pleasures.  Once again: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

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