Please enjoy today’s article from Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Pure Joy Academy as the guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self Blog. ~ Chris
This week, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to practice better habits with my eating. I am probably getting this “opportunity” to practice because I am blogging about mindfulness this month. Thich Nhat Hanh says that if you ask for more patience, God does not grant you patience, but circumstances for you to learn more patience. To me it feels like walking through mud with loose shoes on, but I think he’s right!
Over the past few days, I have felt a little vulnerable and sensitive. When I feel sad, overwhelmed or just pooped out, one of my less-than-perfect habits is to turn to food for comfort. This week was certainly one of those weeks! Luckily though, since last week’s blog was so fresh in my mind, I was able to use some of the principles mentioned. On the top of my mindfulness in eating list was to ask myself if I was actually hungry. The answer was not always yes, and last night, even though I was not at all hungry, I ate a heavy meal plus dessert anyways. Did I feel comforted? The funny thing is NO I didn’t. I felt exhausted and went to bed early. It may seem like I was defeated and that mindfulness was not my friend as I woke up early this morning feeling groggy and feeling lethargic. I wanted to just roll over and go back to sleep as that old vicious cycle of sluggishness was rearing its head. By Grace, the next thought came from my mindfulness training. The thought was more of a voice, and it said “if you go back to sleep you will wake up later feeling worse. If you get up now and do something, you will feel great in an hour.” I had to move fast before I could defeat that thought. So even though the last thing I wanted to do was exercise, I told myself, “just put on your clothes and shoes and get yourself out on the trail. You don’t have to run or even work hard, just get out there.” And guess what? It worked! I found myself feeling happier, juicier and much more energized by the time the one hour walk was over. I even ended up going further than I had planned and feeling quite accomplished when finished. I felt I had overcome a habit that would have stopped me in the past even though it seemed I had made a bad choice in the beginning.
The other practice I used quite a bit this week was to turn to prayer when my eating was a little “out of control”. Prayer has worked as a very strong practice for me as a way of overcoming my all too human weaknesses. Even though I am not religious, I find that calling upon a higher consciousness for support really works for me.
To sum up this week, here are four mindfulness in eating techniques that have worked for me:
I find that when I am with others it’s easy to only eat when I am hungry and to make the very best, healthy choices most of the time. For me, the challenge and the practice begin when I am alone and my day is done.
I asked my super healthy friend the other day if he has any “vices” left. I really didn’t expect him to say that he did, except for maybe chocolate. He told me that yes, he did. When he is not taking care of himself emotionally and spiritually (he does this by taking time to be alone, meditating and exercising), he finds that he over eats! “Wow,” I thought, “we are all so much more alike than we know.” Today I hope you will take comfort in knowing that sometimes, we are all less-than-perfect, and that is perfectly human! Just keep practicing.
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.