Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Here is a cool way to learn more about it and why it’s important:
Have you ever considered what purpose your eating pattern serves? Any type of disordered eating pattern, whether it is restricting food intake (a “diet”),
counting calories obsessively, counting fat grams, avoiding entire categories of food (dreaded “gluten”, “carbs”, or “sugar” are three examples), overeating past the point of satisfaction, throwing up, compensatory behaviors like laxatives or exercising to extreme – all of these patterns are your relationship to food. And your relationship, like any other relationship, serves a purpose in your life.
What would you be doing with your life if you weren’t spending all of your time counting calories? Hating yourself? Wishing you were something – anything other than you think you are? How much time are you spending each day with thoughts about food, feeding, body size & weight? Most importantly, what would you be thinking and feeling if your mind wasn’t occupied with thoughts about food and your body?
It is currently popular to talk about our evolutionary roots and why certain foods belong in our diet. Terms like “Paleo” and explanations from those who influence our eating habits try to explain what kind of foods we should be eating. It can be useful to explore what anthropologists have learned about our historical roots.
Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers who never knew exactly where their next meal might be coming from. In fact, their “meals” were probably eaten on the run as they stalked enough prey to build an actual meal, but it is unlikely that their meals were regular or even eaten daily. Given the conditions under which food was obtained, it was impossible for them to take any of it for granted. Every morsel was hard-won and therefore, extremely precious, savored, relished.
The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world.
How have you noticed the central role food plays in your life? From the time we are born we are developing deep associations between food and our emotions. As infants, our cries are answered with mother’s milk, and Nature’s design, which combines the experience of receiving physical food with emotional connection and safety, is complete. Finding ways to nurture healthy emotional connections while feeding our bodies is the ultimate nourishment. We spend our lives linking food to our emotional needs in ways that attempt to recreate that early experience. Culturally, food plays a central role in life’s rituals. We celebrate occasions like weddings, holidays, graduations, and promotions, and food becomes a significant focus and strongly linked to emotions. Expressions like “drowning our sorrows”, “power lunches”, “chicken soup for the soul”, and even “swallow your pride” demonstrate how we use food to express, suppress, and manage love and many other emotions.
As Lisa Schmidt Counseling and the Mindful Nutritionist settle in for the holiday season, I use this time of year to turn inwards, reflecting on both my accomplishments of the past year and my hopes for the future. I am grateful to be part of your lives, and for the privilege to spread the message about mindful eating, mindful living and learning how to be home in your own body. I practice mindful awareness and mindful movement to stay grounded during this busy time of the year, where everything around us tries to pull us “outwards” as December brings us to the shortest day of the year, drawing us organically “inwards.” Use this awareness of opposition to serve as a timeless lesson urging us towards our center – grounded and steady as the bustle and commercialism of the holiday season pulls us outwards, and the colder, darker weather moves us inwards. You’ll find your own personal practices of mindful awareness will help you navigate the abundance, energetics, and stimulation of December.
At any given time, almost 50 percent of Americans are on a diet. Over two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. We know the data – as a nation, we are alarmed when we watch the news. We are a nation of watchers – sedentary, we overeat as we watch television and continue our preoccupation with calories. Even McDonald’s has gotten into the nations’ obsession, and are now posting calories. As we continue to hope for weight loss, we grab at all kinds of promises, even those proven to be untrue when it comes to food.
Yesterday at a business meeting I heard a few women discussing just how great it was to have gone on a raw vegan smoothie “cleanse”. It wasn’t just the quick weight loss, mind you, but “I just love the way it makes me feel!” They held up the remains of their green drinks, which looked a bit grungy, and toasted each other for their brilliance. Later in the same meeting I observed them eating from the snack bowl a few highly processed, sugar laden “snack” bars marketed as “90 calorie or less” Smart Choices.