Pizza, “Nom nom nom.” Chips, “Nom nom nom.” Grinders, “Nom nom nom.” Chocolate chip cookies, “Nom nom nom.” I love food. I really love it and I do not think there’s a single thing wrong with that. Here’s where discipline comes in. I do not eat these things every day, nor when I eat them, do I eat them in excessive amounts. My good friend and I used to go in on pizza. I’m talking mounds of meat, lots of cheese, some crazy sauces. We would each eat an equivalent to a whole pie. So, I can eat a lot if the challenge presents itself. Initially, it was not that simple to resist stuffing my face. It wasn’t until I started practicing mindfulness that I was able to be aware of my eating habits.
Oftentimes we are not aware of how much we are eating. Practicing mindfulness will help us become more aware of what, how much, and when we are eating. There are a couple of exercises that will help build strength in the area of mindfulness.
Timing yourself while eating is a great way to become aware of how much you eat. It also helps you slow down and allow the body to realize when it is actually full. On many occasions we wolf down food like a rabid animal and think, Man, I am not full at all. Then, boom, it hits you like a ton of bricks and your stomach feels like a solid mass ready to erupt. Eating slow will allow you to stop eating far before feeling full and far before you’re going to #2 yourself. This is my favorite trick to help fix peoples food habits. You can use your phone’s handy timer feature. Set the timer to 15 minutes and then make sure you still have some food left on your plate by the time the alarm goes off.
Another exercise that I love for developing eating awareness is to avoid technology. Move your ass off the couch and away from the TV, cellphone, or computer. Sit and eat with your thoughts concentrated on what you are doing in the moment. When we sit in front of a TV or computer we are not aware of how much food we are shoveling in to our mouths. Usually it’s a lot. When we sit and eat with no distractions, we are aware of what and how much we are putting into our bodies.
Once you are more aware of what you eat and how much you are eating, it makes it easier to concentrate on when you are eating and why. When you are paying attention to the act of eating, you can start to think about the reason you are eating. Ask yourself some questions. Are you eating because Sally is eating, or are you actually hungry? Are you eating because you are thirsty, or are you actually hungry? Are you eating because you don’t want to share your food with me, or are you actually hungry? I’d be happy to eat your leftovers, haha, so do not worry about not finishing your meal.
Look, I love food, I freakin love it. But, I understand there are responsibilities that I have and I owe it to my health and my wallet. Understandably, this stops me from eating the entire fridge at once. I definitely slip up at times. That is no excuse to indulge all the time just because I know I can’t be perfect. Perfect is not what we are striving for. Remember, something is better than nothing. Practice these drills, as much as you can, until being disciplined is the easy choice to make. You will be well on your way to finding your strength grasshoppa.