I’ve been fighting with myself for several months surrounding food. I spent (and spend) a fair amount of time thinking about food. I used to love browsing recipes and finding new things to make. About a year ago I started following a vegan lifestyle, and in the past few months I developed an obsessive need to “control” everything I ate, and berated myself for any “slip ups”. It became overbearing and extremely frustrating. I felt dis-empowered, sad and often labeled myself as “fat”. Typically my mornings would feel refreshed and I would feel strong and capable. But by 3pm, I was snacking a lot and typically making excessive choices into the evening hours. I’ve been fed up with these habits for months, and last night I wrote in my journal about how to move forward.
I’ve decided that more than “exact eating” or “controlled eating” (following a particular label or plan or “never eating ____ <enter food here>”), for me, it’s absolutely about MINDFUL eating. Because I TRUST that when I am mindful, I will make GOOD choices for myself.
Tonight I was eating a salad and was struck (stricken?) by how much chewing it takes to eat a dinner-sized salad! It felt incessant! I noticed that when my mind wandered — “I need to text my friend about that thing.” “Oh, I meant to look up that topic on google.” “Ooh, I finally have a chance to open that book that I’ve been neglecting.” — I noticed that my wandering mind created FASTER chewing in my body. But when I returned my attention back to my food, back to my mouth, into “being here now,” that my chewing slowed down. That I actually I smiled and felt peaceful. That I was more aware of my surroundings, more conscious and present. I even began watching a little ant trail nearby, marveling at how every single time two of them crossed paths, they paused and had a brief interaction. In 10 minutes of watching, there were only two ants that didn’t connect. I observed something I probably wouldn’t have, had I not chosen the mindful path to “be here now”.
I guess the point is, I’m excited about mindful eating. I started a food log, not to count calories, but to simply become aware of what I fuel myself with every day. I’m consciously putting my fork down between each bite. I’m consciously swallowing before picking up my fork again. I’m taking time to notice the texture and smells of the food. I’m closing the door to external distractions. And sometimes, I’m even taking a deep breath between bites.
I am mindful.
I am empowered.
I am Hollye.