I’m practicing intuitive eating, learning to eat when I’m hungry, eat what I want, eat slowly and consciously, and stop when I’m full. Although these “rules” make sense – they aren’t restrictive and won’t leave me feeling deprived, they do require time and effort. I really need to pay attention to my body which is something that I haven’t done for years. Following a diet that promises I can lose 20 pounds in two weeks sounds wonderful, but I know that such a regime is not good for body, mind, or soul.
Guidelines for Mindful Eating and a Healthy Lifestyle
Set my fork down between bites. This goes along with the need to slow down and eat consciously. I don’t have to release the fork, but I should at least rest it on the plate.
I will chew my food. Don’t laugh because I bet you do this as well. Do you still have food in your mouth when you add more food? Do you swallow food that isn’t well chewed? This slows down digestion and makes it harder to eat slowly and consciously.
I’ll leave at least one bite of food on my plate at each meal and substantial snack. Over the course of a day, this probably adds up to 100 calories (or more) saved. This will also get me used to the practice of stopping eating when I’m full.
I’ll rate my hunger on a hunger scale of 0-to-10 before, during, immediately after, and 20-minutes after eating.
I’ll avoid “diet” food. That includes 100-calorie snack packs and 300-calorie frozen meals. Chances are I’m going to feel deprived even before I start eating.
I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Yep, we hear this so often it has become cliché. Oh well, it is healthy, sensible advice.
Keep a forbidden food in the house so I don’t feel deprived. Although I may enjoy it often in the beginning, eventually, my brain will learn that the food isn’t forbidden and it will become less interesting because it is accessible.
I will keep a food journal recording what and when I eat along with any thoughts and emotions that joined me for the meal. I’ve never really been successful doing this, so who knows why I will be now. I want to do this as part of the process of eating consciously, acknowledging what I’ve just consumed.
If I’m not certain if I’m hungry, I will journal for a few pages (which I’ll count as meditation as I don’t sit still and quiet very well) to see what’s going on emotionally.
I’ll come up with options to eating when I’m not hungry. I’m reading Susan Albers; 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food.
If I’m not hungry but I just want to eat, kindly yet firmly tell myself, “Oh well” and do something else.
Stop waiting for a perfect life, healthy diet, flat stomach, etc. to do things I think I should wait to do. Three plus years ago I took this advice, joined eHarmony, and met the man I’m marrying this fall. At the time, I still had 40-plus pounds to lose and now I’ve regained 30 pounds. I wanted to be a thin bride, but, you know, I’m not going to cancel the wedding until I fit into a size 6 instead of a size 16.
I’m sure that I’ll remember other sensible behaviors that will help me ease away from binge eating as I engage in this process, but this will do for now. Again, I’m not going to be able to do all of this at once. I think that has been my expectation over the past couple of weeks – follow the plan and get skinny fast, but long-term lifestyle changes can’t happen overnight.