Friday, May 9, 2008

Eating mindfully - Friday, May 09

So it's the first full week of mindful eating in May. Actually I started on April 29. Nothing like jumping right in once you've decided to do something, right? To recap: with so many people starving and dying around the world, I wanted to be more mindful about what I'm eating and consider how truly lucky I am. This links in with Blue Collar Crunch's Challenge - Diet for Global Hunger Action (click on the image to see her site)  I expanded the challenge a bit for me. My extra rules are pretty straight forward.
  1. Meditate every day
  2. Sit down while I eat (no nibbling while cooking or eating standing up)
  3. Enjoy at least one meal per day in the company of someone else
  4. Eat slowly (no rushing to move on to something else)
  5. No multi-tasking (just eat - no working, reading, movie watching, etc)
Meditate every day - I'm happy to say I've been doing this every day. It has been a really calming activity for me. It's not like I'm very good at it or anything - my mind constantly wanders, but I always end up feeling relaxed and calm. This has probably been the easiest of the 5 rules but it has an amazing impact on my outlook.

Sit down while I eat - In contrast, this has probably been the hardest.  I keep catching myself licking a spoon or nibbling on some veggies while my toast is in the toaster oven.  It's so automatic and it doesn't occur to me until after the spoon is in my mouth. Oops. A big problem for me before this challenge was grazing though the afternoon hours. Of the last 1-1/2 weeks, I've only done this once. I still need a lot of work in this area, but there has certainly been progress made.

Enjoy at least one meal per day in the company of someone else - On weekends, Dave and I go out to lunch together at a restaurant, so weekends are easy. On weekdays, however, we have tended to fend for ourselves and just eat what we want whenever we get hungry. But this new rule means waiting until he gets home to eat dinner. This has turned out beeing really nice - not only do we eat together (though not always the same food), knowing I'm waiting to enjoy a meal with him has helped me through the afternoon snacking urge.

Eat slowly - Doing pretty well. Thankfully, my life isn't TOO hectic so I've been taking time to relax when I eat.

No multi-tasking - this has been a big adjustment. I'm so used to reading or watching a movie or working while I'm eating.  But so far, I have a perfect score. For every meal each day, I have successfully stopped everything else and just enjoyed eating for the sake of eating. This is especially hard at work since I eat at my desk, but to keep the temptation of glancing over at my computer screen at bay, I started sitting on the visitor-side of my desk so that I can see is the view out the window.  Turns out paying more attention to my food means I enjoy it more and feel more satisfied.

So far so good. In addition to being more aware while I'm eating, I haven't been grazing my way through the afternoon and that feels good! I just need some work on those stolen nibbles - making sure I sit down before I eat. But there is hope yet. It's only week 1!


Green Bean said...

I'm doing the challenge too - or trying to. It is so hard to get out of the habit to stuff something in my mouth while making dinner or putting the kids lunches together. I also am so used to multi-tasking - eating while working on the computer and Michael Pollan in IDF says specifically that a desk is not a table. Damn him! I had thought I could convince myself to a way out on that one. Good luck following your rules and wish me luck on mine.

Heather said...

Good luck, Green Bean! I have yet to have one "perfect" day where I don't nibble on anything absentmindedly. I'm trying for today. I got up and gave my doggie her pills in peanut butter. I did NOT lick the spoon. So far so good. Next was breakfast for me. I got out container of pre-peeled citrus and filled a small bowl - no nibbles there. I took out a slice of homemade whole wheat and cut a piece of cheese off my wedge of gouda. A crumb fell off the cheese as I was putting it on the bread before toasting. I put the crumb in my mouth and before I could close, I realized what I did, removed it and put it on the bread to toast. Pshew. Almost blew it there! :)

Keep plugging along. We can do it!

Theresa said...

This is a really hard challenge - I'm sending you lots of encouraging vibes to keep going at it! I tried something similar a few months ago, as part of Crunchy's No Waste Challenge, and I found it really difficult. Not multitasking and sitting down while I ate were the hardest things for me. I so enjoy having tea and a snack while reading, or having popcorn while watching one of the few tv shows I watch.

I love the meditating though, just love it. I don't do it everyday, but it is something that I really look forward to and am amazed at. Having some time to just sit and be grateful and compassionate is absolutely transformative.

Heather said...

Theresa - I'm the same way about meditating. I'll do it for awhile and then stop for awhile and when I'm not doing it, I notice that I'm not as centered, patient, or calm. It's made such an amazing difference in my day to day focus.

Thanks for all the good vibes! They worked! It turns out I made it through the entire day without nibbling a single bite - that has to be some kind of lifetime record for me I think. But I did it! C'est possible!