Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do you mind?

I decided to enroll in a workshop this weekend at the last minute. The workshop was entitled "Mindful Yoga - Mindful Eating" and it was really great.

The workshop was four hours and in that time period we did what the instructor called some "light yoga" (which I guess was a nice way to say about 20 minutes of yoga) and then heavy talking (which is to say pretty much the rest of the class was about talking and listening).

The idea of the workshop was to be more mindful about many actions in your life - one of which should be eating. There was a lot of conversation about our relationships with food and at one point it became clear that the leader of the class, who was a trained nutritionist, thought that diets were a bunch of hooey. Instead, she taught us that being mindful eaters should involve a bond with the food to ourselves. When being more mindful about (and when) the food we eat, we can figure out if we're eating because we're hungry or if it's something else.

Not a new concept.

But she took it further and asked us to try eating when we really were hungry. She asked us to eat the foods we (at our core) wanted to eat. And she coached us to stop when we were satisfied.

So yesterday, about 4 inches into my Subway sandwich, I stopped eating and threw the rest away. I was satisfied so there was no need to continue to eat just because it was there and was a usual portion size.

And today, I decided to grab my lunch at 11:45 because that's when my body was hungry - I didn't wait for my normal 12 (or in my case 1 because I want to spend my lunch hour running errands).

To me, this makes perfect and intuitive sense. It's one more step in the whole process of trusting myself more.

Why am I looking to anyone or anything (Weight Watchers included) to tell me what I can or cannot have? Why am I going hungry some nights just because I ran out of points for that day?

I caught up on everyone's blogs this morning and I read through one of MizFit's posts where she decided to not run a full marathon but instead run a half - because the full would be too much cardio for her. I loved that line - it means that this wonderfully fit woman (seriously, I'm guessing about 0.1% body fat on her from the pictures) knows her own body enough to say "no." She trusts and loves herself enough to do what is right FOR HER.

So I want to do the same for me. Am I giving myself permission to go off the deep end and eat high fatty foods all the time? No. Because that wouldn't be good for me either. But I want to arrive at a place where I eat when I'm hungry. I want to eat the foods that I know my body needs because I honor it. I want to not deprive myself or my body.

I want to listen to my body. I want to listen to my spirit. I want to stop thinking of foods as good or bad. I want to stop thinking of my journey divided into on the wagon or off the wagon. I want to stop judging myself and my actions. I want to move learn the lessons of what to eat because I'm listenting intuitively to my body.

I want to start beind mindful to myself...and being kind to my body.

This comes on the heels of reading Pema Chodron's book "Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears." I'm still reading the book, but to me, it just makes sense - it's an intuitive approach of how to handle our own emotions when they rise up. She writes about our own choice to repeat the same habits as we have been or to have the mindfulness and presence to catch it when it starts to happen. If we don't get caught up in the emotions right away, we can empower ourselves to stop, breathe, and let our own intuitive knowledge shine through.

And that's what I plan on doing: Trusting myself, loving myself, and being mindful. When I trust myself more - even (or especially?) about food - I'm teaching myself that I can be trusted to survive any situation. I can trust myself to come up with a great answer to a problem and can know that it will all be okay. Trusting myself doesn't mean I have to be perfect, on the wagon, good, or the best at anything. Instead, it means that I can just BE me - and that is enough.

In a good binge from years past, I could never eat enough. I would be SO uncomfortable - my body literally bursting with pain and I would still eat. I couldn't get enough. I certainly couldn't eat it fast enough.

So maybe, just maybe, as I start to trust that I am enough, I will be able to have finally eaten enough.


POD said...

It's difficult separating the mindful from the maniac. My maniac comes out (of habit), sneaky like a thief. It's very strange and funny and I think a lot of it *is* habitual maniacal emotional eating.

Margie M. said...

Loving ourselves is so important. With that love can come trust, as well. Excellent post and I will be interested to see how your new plan goes. I don't like the phrase "on the wagon" much either. Insightful, interesting, thoughtful writing. Thanks for sharing it.

Margie M. writes at:

Misspudding said...

Love it.

I'm kind of on the verge of stopping WW because of similar feelings right now.

If I'm just mindful, not competitive or details crazy, I think it would go a long way.

妝狂 said...


carla said...

very interesting post (and thx for the link as well).
for me the loving myself came first and only then was I able to shed even a pound.

It was a long road to get there---but worth every step.

Kris said...

Sounds like a good class. DO you recommend it?