Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mindful or Mindless

I was reading something this evening, a blog post, and something in it really clicked with me.

I'll be honest, that I've not had the easiest of weeks.  Aside from being pretty distracted with family stuff, a busy social week and work starting to hot up, I've been beating myself up because I couldn't understand why I keep going so off-track with my eating.

I start each new day with best intentions, and then somewhere along the line it usually goes wrong.  Whether it's me indulging pointlessly on my own at home, making bad choices on the run, or getting carried away in a social situation, it's simply not been a very productive week on the food front.  Again.

This weekend has been no different, since I've been down in London visiting a friend, and there just seems to have been a multiplication affect of questionable choices.  On their own, none of them would have been terrible, but together ... well.

I won't lie and pretend I didn't already see a(nother) gain on the scales on Friday morning as well.  I'm pretty much back where I started a couple of weeks ago.

Back to this article then.  It was talking about an eating tool, rather than a diet, in the form of mindful eating.  I've come across aspects of this before, in the form of the whole eat-when-you're-hungry-don't-eat-when-you're-not tactic, i.e. checking you're actually physically hungry before you eat and that it's not emotional hunger.  However, this particular piece of writing was talking about another aspect of it - when you're eating, make sure you're completely concentrated on eating - in other words: focus.

I literally can't tell you how many thoughts whirled through my mind as I read this:  that I'm a horrible multi-tasker and always eat whilst doing at least one other activity (and possibly more than one), that I rush my food - usually readying the next bite whilst still chewing the first, that I quite frequently eat whilst standing, that in a social situation I'm often so busy talking that I talk with my mouth full whilst trying to eat as well and even then I'm usually the last person to finish eating (yeah, don't judge me - that sounds like I'm spluttering food all over the table, and I promise you I'm not).

Looking at what I've written above, I think that it's no wonder I eat too much, as I can be hardly tasting a thing I'm eating and sometimes must barely realise I've consumed a whole meal!

How many of us eat whilst reading or watching tv?

As I sat and thought about it (ironically, whilst eating part of my dinner), I came to a startling conclusion:  I never just eat because it seems like a waste of what little free time I have, hence I rush it or do something else at the same time to distract myself.  Eating is more like an neccessary accompaniment to a lot of my day to day activities (work, reading, watching tv, spending time with friends) than an essential act to maintain life and health in its own right.

I hadn't even realised that I view it that way.  It seems almost impossible now that I stop and think about it, but I view eating in two completely different and opposing ways: 1) something I deserve and a reward / comfort / security blanket, but also 2) a pain in the ass waste of time to be gotten over with as quickly as possible.

No wonder I'm fucking confused and conflicted on it!

I'll tell you right now, that when I realised what I was reading, I stopped eating to concentrate on reading the section I was interested in.  And then I sat and tried to deliberately focus on eating my dessert of a bowl of fruit with a little sweetened marscapone (delish, if you've not tried it), with the laptop switched off and my phone locked.  Good grief - it's actually flaming difficult to do!  I realised how fast I tend to eat, gulping down my food, and how I ready another mouthful whilst chewing the one I'm on.  I also realised how I started noticing that I was feeling full not halfway down the bowl, and how my jaw became tired of chewing .... cues I've been missing whilst I normally distract myself.

I'm in no way saying that I think this revelation is a miracle cure, but I'm certainly intrigued by what I've learned about myself today.  I feel like I've basically just discovered a huge mistake I've been making, and we all know we're only clever if we can learn from our mistakes.  I'm already thinking what, and how, I can learn from this, and how I can try to concentrate more on my actual eating (rather than just tracking my intake) for the rest of the week and see where that takes me.

I have a feeling that it's going to be both not that simple and also eye-opening for me.

1 comment:

Badger said...

I relate to every part of that post.
I know I eat too fast as well - and have to slow myself right down in order not to finish before everyone!