Eating Mindfully: Becoming the Best Person You were Meant to Be
This article, in edited version, appeared in 2008 in The Wellington Advertiser
So much information is coming at us these days about healthy eating. In the last thirty years we have produced more information than in the previous 5000!! Is there a magazine or newspaper without an ad or article about the latest diet?
And still the obesity rate rises. The Canadian Community Health Survey reports doubled obesity rates for some age groups in the last 25 years!!
Rates of disease connected to poor eating habits are rising. Diabetes rates in Ontario are higher than the World Health Organization expected to see globally by 2030 !
We eat while talking on the phone, reading or listening to the weather reports. We eat before going to bed. We eat when angry or frustrated. We grab a donut when we don't have time to peel a carrot. And where is there a drive-in for peeled carrots anyway? We eat in the car because that doesn't really count. We finish a whole bag of chips in front of the TV before we notice we are eating. Our mindless eating is so "normal", researchers study it to see how they can trick us into buying more food. Unfortunately they don't have to be too clever to do that. A little colour here, an additive there and chemicals everywhere !!
We are so busy we rush to the grocery store to fill our cart and get out fast, so we can fill our cupboards, refrigerators and bellies. We give little thought to nutrition or to nourishing our spirits.
All this comes home to me some mornings as I bite into the succulaent orange I have just cut into segments, feeling that first squirt of delicious juicy tangy citrus health as it explodes onto my gums and teeth and the roof of my mouth before sliding down my throat to create immunity, fullness and the greatest of satisfactions. I feel my cells smiling !! Mmmm yummm.
Mindful eating means paying attention to all the parts of eating; that is: how the food tastes, looks, smells feels, sounds ( when you chew). It means paying attention before and after you eat. For example, are you really hungry ( on a scale of 1- 10 how hungry are you? ) or are you really tired or angry and just wanting the pain to go away? After you eat, by paying attention to how you feel, you soon learn if that particular food combination was good for you and your body.
We listen to all the "experts" but forget to check in with our own wise selves!!
Mindful eating means paying attention. We do this when we take time to connect head and stomach; body, mind and spirit. We ask our tummy and our heart what our body really needs... and we enjoy it!
Take your time. Breathe. Savor the moment. You owe it to yourself to be the happiest healthiest YOU, you can possibly be.