By Heather Hamilton, PhD., LMHC, NCC, DCC | ©2022BreakThrough!
Eating mindfully helps us lose weight. Even more important, it also presents the opportunity to fully appreciate eating with all our senses. To know that what we’ve chosen is nourishing us feels good, and… doesn’t need to be different to be any better! My favorite mindfulness practice is deliberately sitting down for meals. I try to turn off distracting noises and set aside my e-gear and other tasks no matter how short, or long, the meal may be.
So…how often do you eat on the run? Eat (or shovel) forkfuls of lukewarm leftovers in between doing other tasks? Eat while driving? Forget what you ate altogether? If this behavior sounds familiar, consider a different approach.
Mindfulness: In the Present
Throughout the BreakThrough! In the program, we discuss a number of dysfunctional thought patterns. These patterns include biases, negative thinking, as well as self-defeating beliefs that lead to emotional overload, cravings, and relapse-driven eating. Mindfulness and goal-oriented thoughts can be employed to challenge cravings that lead to relapse. With situational awareness, we recognize CHOICE points and the opportunity for healthy-sustaining decisions.
Some of us may romance relapse and even plan for it days ahead. What does that mean? Basically that we start thinking about a time when we can be self-indulgent and no one will know what we bought or ate. Now…sometimes we can laugh off our obsessions but this generally isn’t the case. Relapse or similar thoughts keep us mired in secretive, guilt, and shame-based thinking. This guilt perpetuates existential conflict within us. As long as we struggle with a sense of shame or fear of being exposed, we are stuck. When we’re stuck we aren’t enjoying ourselves nor are we able to be fully authentic and present in life.
Identify Your Intentions & Goals
When we give ourselves permission to be present and become willing to consider change as an opportunity, we live a life of potential. When we live this way, what we teach about ourselves (our strengths, our values, as well as humorous humility over shortcomings and eccentricities) brings the best of us forward for ourselves and others. This type of self-acceptance and grace is rare, but a quality we’re invariably drawn to in others.
One of the goals of mindfulness is to develop our ability to live peacefully in the present; to clear our mind and participate fully in the moment, whatever the moment may be. At some point, we have to develop the faith and trust that if we retrain Betty well she’ll exert a positive influence over Brian, and together they’ll keep us safe. When we know we’re safe, we have the freedom to enjoy what we’re doing. The gift to be present with “What is”…rather than falling into the mental mosh pit of “What if…?”
Now, Let’s BreakThrough!
Grab a piece of paper and a writing tool to complete the Meal Appreciation Exercise below.
Meal Appreciation Exercise
Think back to a meal you had earlier today or better yet; yesterday.
What did you have to eat?
Can you describe the colors, the placement of food on the plate?
How about the textures?
Was the food warm enough?
How was it flavored?
Did you add anything to it?
Did you think about where it might have been grown or harvested?
Where did the food come from?
Did you feel good eating the meal?
Was there appreciation for the quality of the food?
Any feelings of gratitude or thankfulness?
If you ate with a companion, did they enjoy their meal?
Did they have the same thing or something different?
What did you notice about their food?
Do they like something you have never tried?
We hope you have enjoyed this article from The BreakThrough! Program.
References & Related Topics