Ok, this might seem a bit silly, and perhaps it is, but there’s something to this. Really.
First of all, let me clarify, I do not diet. Nor do I believe they work or are even good for you. I am one of those firm believers in “don’t diet, just change your lifestyle” kinda thinking. So that said, this is not a “diet.” This is actually a simple lifestyle change ANYONE can do. I am absolutely certain it will work to help you look and feel better about your body, and also give you an overall feeling of health, joy, and contentment.
I recently read about “Mindful Eating,” and I was completely inspired to do it! Here’s the bottom line…
Your mind is incredible. The roll and power your emotions and feelings have on your physical body is undeniable and remarkable. (Just go look up the effects stress can have on your physical body!) So, the emotion and energy you cook and eat your food with plays a huge role in how your body accepts and uses the food. You’ve heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” right? So, if you are eating with love, your body will use that nutrition with love, creating, at an energetic level, contentment, peace, and love. If you cook and eat out of anxiety, rush, anger, or sorrow your food will also take on that energy and your body with not utilize the nutrition of the food in its best way.
Want to know more? Ok, keep reading, here it is:
Mindful Eating and Cooking by the Wholehearted Mind: (full article here)
For starts, let’s assume everyone reading this is a nutrition expert. We know What to eat, for the most part.
The function of food is simple and as follows:
Good, clean food ->improves assimilation -> increases energy -> improves digestion ->eliminates constipation – > makes you sexy. In that order.
Now, picture this:
Licking Nutella off the spoon, exiting out the door, shoving an energy bar, bursting with antioxidant and all… busy, no? Picking out leftovers from a child’s plate, after ranting at them for not eating. Loud bossing in general, instant opinion about how horrible the food’s going to taste. Watching TV, reading email. Getting up for seconds, thirds, or fourths? Still hungry? Looking at the ice cream tub at midnight?
When my energy sags, skin flakes (or worse), or weight see-saws, I agonize over my “healthy” eating plan, haul the best of the weight-loss books, visit websites, re-analyze, make plans, create lists, buy more “organic” food and agonize all over again. What was amiss? Then I recalled this:
When my spiritual teacher visited us in 2010, I ate ravenously, fully and completely. The meals were prepared at home, with much love and affection. We shared a meal and a prayer. We talked, we laughed, we appreciated the delectable setting on the table. Five days of merriment, good meals, and loads of energy. When he left, I found that I had dropped five pounds, my skin glowed and I had forgotten to wear make-up.
Was it how I ate that made all the difference?
Pancakes at breakfast : 1 egg, a scoop of whole whey concentrate, 1 tablespoon of organic gluten-free pancake mix, a tablespoon of chia seeds, fresh organic blueberries. Perfect. Yes? Aha..
Now picture this:
Me: shouting loudly at the kids: “Come down your breakfast’s getting cold”- Adrenaline rush, cortisol rising, adipose forming – where’s the lion*? Then, flipping a pancake and stuffing a piece in my mouth, wondering if I can down another cup of coffee before dropping off the kids to school. Liver imbalance, bile thickened, sluggish intestine – where’s the sexy?
*The body has just moved into a flight-or-fight response. In that instant. If there was a lion in the kitchen, I would have attempted to run away, and perhaps not added on adipose (fat).
(Ok, me again… I’ll be interjecting my own thoughts through this). Being a mom, I can totally relate to this. How many times do I finish my meal and realize I haven’t tasted any of it. You know what I’m talking about!
So here’s the things she lists to help you achieve a more mindful meal:
SIT and SET
1) Find a place to sit down. Even if I’m licking jelly off a spoon.
2) Use a bowl, plate and cup combo. Place the entire meal within this three-piece setting.
3) Sit comfortably. Don’t read further. STOP – Do this now..Relax your shoulders, gently release the tension in your neck by moving it. Breathe calmly and soften your belly. Relax your jaw. Ok – good. Continue reading. You have just set the hormones in the right mood to assist your digestion.
LOOK and FEEL
4) While seated, survey the food with all five senses. Will this be enough? Take a super-educated guess without using your brain. Feel it. Yes, No? Will I need seconds? Of which item? Do not say, “Maybe.” This is so, so important. Maybe means you are thinking too much and not listening to the signals from your body.
5) Nix distractions.
PRAY, EAT, LOVE
6) Place my hands around the food. Thank and bless the food. A simple affirmation, “May this be meal be satisfying and nourishing.” “May this food be healing.”
7) Eat happily. Need a second helping? Yes? Love yourself anyway.
Do just this, and nothing else, without worrying about what to eat. (for now; this is working counter to the norm. Become skillful in the ”how” and then the “what”)
If you are trying this out for the first time, start with just one meal, whether it is a huge dinner or a small orange, and do all steps for a whole week, slowly extending it to all you eat. Create your own special routine.
So I would like to add something else I’ve incorporated into it. I have been more conscience about COOKING with LOVE. And by that I mean I’ve done everything from thinking how beautiful the food is, to giving little prayers of gratitude for the food I’m preparing, and also smiling while I’m stirring. I’ve even started saying good things to my food I’m making. Sound silly? Yes, it probably is. But I feel good and happy as I am sending good energy into the food and creating an atmosphere for my body to accept the food the best way.
So does it work you ask? Actually, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve been doing this “mindful eating and cooking with love” thing for about two weeks now. I haven’t changed what I eat or how much even. I just changed the way I eat and cook the food by being more conscience, mindful and happy. And the good news is… my body is definitely trimming down. I now fit into my pre-pregnancy pants that I haven’t fit in in over a year. Kinda amazing stuff this mindful eating is… I’m thinking I’m going to keep going with it.
Do something new and different. Try it out. Let me know how it works for you and how you feel.