Like many people, I’ve often struggled with my relationship with food.
I’ve tried every ‘diet’ under the sun over the years, as well as going to slimming clubs, and although I had some temporary success, I could never keep the weight off.
Because I never addressed the reasons why I was overeating. There was always an unrealistic plan to follow and as soon as I was back in the real world, I fell off the wagon.
I realised unless I got to the root cause of my eating I’d never get anywhere.
My lightbulb moment came when I heard myself encouraging my daughter (who’d told me she was full) to eat a few more mouthfuls and then she could have dessert.
It hit me like a thunderbolt – she’d told me she was full, and I’d told her to eat more, so that she could eat even more!
This madness had to end.
It was no wonder I couldn’t control my own eating, I’d eaten past the point of being ‘nicely full’ so many times in my life I had no idea what it was anymore.
‘Full’ had become, ‘the plate is empty’ or ‘I need to undo a button on my jeans’ or ‘I am going to be sick’.
I also realised how much I used food emotionally. Had a bad day? Chocolate. Had a good day? Chocolate. Stressed? Tired? Angry? Celebrating? Upset? The answer was always chocolate or biscuits.
Hunger never came into it and actually after the first few, I was on automatic pilot and not even aware of what I was eating let alone whether I was enjoying it.
I discovered mindful eating and, along with a few other tweaks to my eating habits and some work on my self esteem, it has completely changed the way I think about and eat food.
What is mindful eating?
Everything you eat must be put on a plate and eaten sitting down. No more grazing while making dinner, no snacking as you browse through the cupboards, no mindless eating in the car.
When you eat – JUST EAT. Turn off your phone, TV, put down the magazine, stop work – it’s all of five minutes – you can do it. If your brain doesn’t consciously log the food going in, you won’t register that you’ve eaten in the same way.
Stop halfway through whatever it is you’re eating and take stock of how your body is feeling.
Eat what you fancy eating, not what you think you should.
It’s not rocket science. It’s about focusing on what you’re eating, thinking about your food and most of all enjoying it!