Mindfull Eating

I have, like many women, struggled with food and eating on and off for my whole adult life. I’ve used food to comfort myself, to fill an aching empty hole, when I’m bored, when I’m stressed and when I’m upset.

It’s been up and down, back and forth for years, but the better my relationship with myself, the better my relationship with food.  Over the last few years, I have spent quite a bit of time learning to get in touch with my hunger, and to really be present in my body. Basically to listen to myself.  It’s tough when you are used to denying yourself what you think you really want.

A few days ago I was reading a great book by Geneen Roth, called ‘When you eat at the Refrigerator, Pull up a chair’

She’s the author of many amazing books about food, including the bestseller ‘Women, Food and God’ which is coming up soon in my reading list (and I’m sure I’ll post about my thoughts).

In ‘When you Eat…’, she talks about being fully present when you eat, rather than allowing yourself to be distracted by other things.  She says that when you are fully present eating, you are far more satisfied. You can also listen more easily to your body, and you’ll notice when you’re full. You’ll also get far more enjoyment from the food- from really acknowledging the tastes, textures and aromas of what you’re eating.

I gave it a whirl last night. I took myself out for dinner, to an Indian restaurant, and decided to go for the incredibly fresh buffet. I was the first person at it. I got my plateful, sat down with a glass of wine and proceeded to eat, with no distractions. No phone, no book, no company. Just me, the food and the wine.

The first few bites were amazing, and then I found myself reaching for my book. I had to stop myself again and again. It was really hard to sit and be fully present. It actually became far easier after half the glass of wine though, I think it helped me unwind and relax a little. It took me out of my head, and into the present moment. Once I was really there, really present, I found myself lost in the sensations of the food, and I began to really enjoy myself. I also found that I was satisfied with less. I had no compulsion to keep eating past being full, like I sometimes do when I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing (usually I have my nose in a book when I eat alone).

So, I think I’m going to make a daily practice of mindful eating.  See if it gets any easier, and see where it takes me. I’ll let you know!

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