The mindful meal

It often feels like I live in a sea of “I’ll start tomorrow’s,” especially when it comes to reaching my goals. After my last post, I decided to dive headfirst into researching mindful eating and making small, attainable goals for myself. 

I’ve been slowly unpacking my body and food issues, laying everything bare and taking stock. From body dysmorphia to mindless eating, I want to drill down to what keeps me from breaking out of some of these old, unhealthy patterns. I’ve come to realize that through all the diets and programs and exercise regimens, I never felt like I was fixing the problem. I was slapping a band-aid over broken bones.

Every diet I’ve ever been on has felt restricting and unsustainable.  

So, I’m throwing diets and restrictions out the window to focus on my relationship with food.

Living alone affords me the luxury of changing up my eating practices. Though I have a kitchen table in my apartment, I eat nearly every meal on the couch in front of the TV. Eliminating distraction is a key tenet of mindful eating, so that’s my first step. It may seem small, but my only goal this month is to eat meals at the table, sans TV.

In the past, I would have written a long list of mindful eating practices here and tried to integrate them into my life all at once. Being someone who tends to obsess about food and diets, I feel like trying to tackle everything at once is a bad idea. I would be setting myself up for failure.

I’m focusing on one small goal at a time because this is not a quick fix, it’s a slow and steady climb.

ellengetsherlifetogether

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Weighed down

Every morning I walk past it, the square-foot or so of glass and metal that, for most of my life, provided a calculation of my self-worth. It wasn’t long ago that I lived for that little digital reading. A stripped down daily ritual offering a barometer for my mood.

Admittedly, I haven’t stepped on the scale since I moved into my new apartment. I’m on the fence as to whether that’s a good thing or not.

I think I’ve been on a diet my entire life. If it’s out there, I’ve probably tried it: Slim Fast, Dexatrim, Cortaslim, WonderSlim, Alli, Whole30, Paleo, juice cleanses, hypnotherapy…and the list goes on. I also have a history of disordered eating. Throughout the bouts of bingeing and purging in college, or the obsessive calorie-counting and fitness tracking in my first year of marriage, I never really felt like I’d reach my “goal.”

There was always another pound to lose, or size to shrink into.

I often used food as a drug to cure my hurt, mistaking feeling full for feeling fulfilled. I used obsessive, disordered eating as a way to gain a sense of control when things were spinning out. Over the past ten years, I’ve probably gained and lost over 200 pounds. The recent stress of moving and starting over with new routines hasn’t done me any favors. I find myself falling into old habits like reaching for food when I’m not hungry or wanting to do fifty jumping jacks to cancel out a handful of almonds I just had.

Part of my self-awareness journey needs to include mindful eating. This is probably the single most difficult practice I’ve attempted. Being someone with an unhealthy relationship to food, I know I have to work extra hard to be present when I sit down for a meal. 

I’ve conquered a lot of food and body issues over the last few years, but my work is far from done. I’m ready to start showing up for myself and work toward feeling happy, healthy, and strong in my 30-year-old body.

ellengetsherlifetogether

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