How often do you pay total attention to your food and eating? If you’re like the average American, the answer will be ‘not much’. Often we eat while talking to other people. When alone, we distract ourselves by eating and working on the computer, reading, watching TV, or driving. We give little value to the food we put into our mouths, and even less to creating an environment to enjoy our food and digest it well.
Why do we do this? First, our fast-paced culture encourages it. Work and going, going, going become more important that taking care of ourselves. So we feel like we’re wasting time cooking and eating. The ironic part is that as we gain weight and develop diseases caused by poor food choices and eating habits, we become obsessed about our bodies, our weight, and what we’re eating. Wouldn’t it be easier to just pay attention in the first place?
When we do, we might notice that it feels lonely to eat alone so we distract ourselves with TV, emails, or whatever. The flip side of the coin can be equally problematic – if we eat with others we feel socially satisfied but are usually not paying attention to what we eat and how we eat it.
One way to reverse all this is to spend some time eating in silence. That means not talking, and also making eating your absolute sole activity. How often you do this depends on you. Maybe you can manage one meal a day or one meal a week. Perhaps you’d like to do a weekend marathon of all meals. Maybe you can do it with the people you eat with, and make it an adventure and learning experience for them too.
What will come up will be totally unique to you. Often emotions and feelings that have gotten attached to food will come up – maybe sadness, or loneliness, or inadequacy. If you allow yourself to just sit with it, it will probably pass in a few minutes.
This exercise is a great opportunity to also get in touch with how much you need to eat and what foods you need to eat. My experience doing silence retreats and leading others on them is that almost everyone realizes they eat way more than they need to for sustaining their bodies. Personally, from eating almost all meals in silence for several months, I found after a while that I could just look at food and know if it was right for me. I could smell food and know that it would sit well in my body, or create cravings, or be totally satisfying, or be exactly what my body didn’t need at that moment. And if I ate more than I needed to, I at least did it with consciousness.
When you reach this level of awareness then foods that used to beckon you (like chocolate, or fries, or sodas) just don’t have the same appeal or pleasure. They can magically become neutral objects with no calling power. Or, you can eat them once in a while and be done. You no longer feel imprisoned by them.
If you’re a person who has felt that food is controlling you, this exercise can put you back in the driver’s seat. What a great feeling to be in charge of your life! This exercise is so simple it seems too good to be true. Are you ready to give it a try?
If you want some individual help developing healthy habits, please sign up for my no obligation 15 minute ‘Free My Body’ chat with me at www.MakingWeightLossEasy.com
Carol Crenshaw is a Weight Loss and EFT Expert, helping hundreds of people weed through all the weight loss myths and providing healthy, fast and freeing weight loss solutions.To find out more about Carol and the weight loss programs she offers, go to www.MakingWeightLossEasy.com