Mindful Eating Habits and Turning Off / On

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Monique Nelson

Founder at Choose to Cook
Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.
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Do you ever have those moments where you hear something and you know, immediately, deep down inside that it’s true, but you don’t necessarily think that it’s a truth that there is any space for in your own life? Like, you don’t have the time for it, or the energy or the will power or the literal physical space, perhaps? For whatever reason, that truth will probably work wonders for millions of people who are not you. You know that feeling?

I have been a long time reader of Refinery29; specifically a reader of Kelsey Miller, whom I find incredibly genuine and very inspirational. She has been on a “mindful eating” or “intuitive eating” journey for months now, and I really like to read her posts about the journey. Currently, she is anti-diet. She believes in eating what you want when you want it – but only if you really actually stop to think about whether or not you actually want it and what the reasons behind that urge are. There’s a whole philosophy behind this and I recommend you take a stroll over to hear her side of the story – it’s fantastic.

As an avid anti-dieter myself, I love the idea that your body will tell you what it needs if you give it the opportunity. This does not happen overnight, and it can actually be really, really, really difficult to interpret your own body language, especially if you have been doping it up with chemicals, sugars, and toxins for years. But, your body is incredibly smart and if you give it have the chance, it will start to thrive and demand the foods that fuel it at its highest levels of efficiency.

I’ve now talked about your body as an “it” for too long, and I’m moving on.

I read one of her posts today titled, Try Eating This Way For One Week & See What Happens. She issues a challenges, and goes forth to explain the ins and outs and whyfors. As soon as you’re done here, go read it. I’m going to touch down on the challenge and why it’s going to be insanely difficult for me, but you really should read the whole article.

Veggie-Pot-PieThe challenge is to eat one meal a day in a completely mindful manner, which means you tune into your food and tune out of all the else. No tv, no podcasts, no books. Just food. Just paying attention to each bite, enjoying the flavours and textures. This is a fantastic idea and it holds a major truth that just has no place in my life. I know I have a huge problem with portion control. I frequently ignore all guidelines and simply try to eat as quickly as humanly possible in order to fit as much into my belly as possible. I’m a plant-based vegan which means that I primarily eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains and because these things are all very healthy I feel totally justified in trying to eat as much as possible.

To put it into context, see that veggie pot pie over there to the right? Well, imagine another layer of kale on top, with a slathering of cashew “cheese” sauce and another layer of crust, baked up to perfection. I ate a piece for lunch today. In my recipe calculations, I broke it town into 8 servings. In reality, I only cut it into 4 pieces. I ate a QUARTER of a pie for lunch. Who do I think I am!?

But…I know I over eat. I also know, on a theoretical level, that if I truly wanted to enjoy my food – which I say I do – I should slow down and actually enjoy it. Eating more does not necessarily translate into higher satisfaction. I know that. But I do it anyways.

I also am a very busy person, and I don’t like to feel like I am “wasting” any time, so with every meal I always take the opportunity to self-educate by reading, listening to podcasts, or watching something like a TedTalk. Just sitting there eating sounds like a big huge drain on my time resources. But I do believe that it will make an impact on my life. I know I will enjoy my food more if I am paying attention to tasting it. I know that I won’t over eat if I pay attention to my “full” signals from my body. I know all of these things and still I rebel!

As I’m writing this I realize this probably can also save me money. Portion control, as I’ve mentioned is a huge problem for me. But if I eat less (because I don’t need more) than my groceries will go further, saving me money. Ok, ok. I have to do it. Honestly, I was in at the mention of “challenge.” Now the decision is to which meal of the day? Not breakfast. My mind is too on fire in the morning and I need my inspiration. Maybe lunch? Take a few minutes out of my computer-filled day to tune out and just mellow with my meal? Or dinner? Where I am the most prone to over eat because the built-in portion control of having a packed lunch lunch is gone?

My one week challenge will start tomorrow – February 11, 2016, but I’d love your feedback and suggestions in regards to which meal I should be mindful of. Please, leave your comments below and also tell me this – will you take the challenge with me?

Post Author: Monique Nelson

Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.

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