Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mindful Eating

This is a new tool for me. Not a new concept, but for the first time, I'm truly embracing the concept. I'm also making it my own.

But how did I get here? It was a big DUH moment when out of curiosity, I decided to check out Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin web site. There's a lot of buzz about this show on and I basically had dismissed it because it seemed like yet another attempt to offer a 'magic pill' to desperate folks in an attempt to relieve them of their money. Yeah, I don't have a great opinion of the weight loss industry.

That said, I got smacked in the face in the first few seconds of viewing McKenna's web page. He has a section called The 4 Golden Rules of Eating. I'll summarize them:

1. Eat what you want not what you think you should eat
2. Eat ONLY when you are physically hungry
3. Eat mindfully
4. Stop eating when you are no longer physically hungry

DUH! I've heard all but the first one before. Many many many times. I've actually heard the first one before - Geneen Roth posited this rule years ago. I tried it then. Gained weight. Why? I didn't follow the other rules. These rules will not work singly. They must be followed together.

I'm not really paying too much attention to McKenna's site. To me, it's just regurgitation of what others have said before. Many times. I am paying attention to the DUH! moment though. D, my partner has often told me I'm obsessed with food. That I didn't have to spend SO much time prepping and planning and packing my food if only I'd just eat ONLY when I was hungry. He's right - to some extent. A lot of what I WANT to eat does need to be prepped and packed. I can't get it when I'm out and about. I don't want to risk being held hostage to the food industry.

That's another rant. Back to the mindful eating.

So here's my take on it:

1. All meals are to be eaten sitting down at a table. In a designated eating place. I set a place - place mat and napkin. Even for snacks.

2. I eat only when I am hungry. That means physical symptoms - tummy growling, etc. D and I had a bit of an 'discussion' about this last night. He thinks I eat too often. I don't know if I got it through his head or not that most of my meals are designed so that I will be physically hungry in about 3 hours. There are times where I think I want something to eat just 30 minutes after a meal. I look at the clock and tell myself that I'm just wanting to eat, I'm not hungry. I can't be. I just ate. (This works only if I'm eating in a balanced way). If I'm hungry 2 hours after my last meal/snack I tell myself "I can eat in about an hour." This works for me. It helps me from getting too hungry. It also helps me recognize true hunger. But D thinks I should tell myself as much as 4 hours away from the next meal that I can be hungry for four hours. That DOES NOT work for me. That's allowing my body to get too hungry and not respecting it's needs.

3. Eat mindfully. At said designated eating place. I put my utensils down between bites. I chew slowly and thoroughly. No, I don't count chews. That is distracting and as far as I'm concerned, a bit OCD. I breathe deeply between bites. I savor my food. Notice the texture and taste. And I assess my hunger level between bites.

4. I stop eating when I am no longer hungry. I have to admit this one is hard. I actually try to put only the amount fo food on my plate that will result in this feeling. I'm a member of the clean plate club. But I'm getting better at this.

The result of practicing this type of eating for a week? I've dropped about 3 lbs. Better yet, I don't feel obsessed by food. I like that.

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