As I mentioned on Tuesday, I recently spent 12 days doing the Reset Programme where I gave up wheat, alcohol, dairy, sugar and caffeine. It was difficult, but I was prepared and organised and it wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be. But completely changing my diet – even for such a short time – made me realise how much I would normally eat. I noticed all the times I would have eaten, when I would have snacked, finished off the kids food, grazed when I wasn’t hungry and eaten food which wasn’t good for me or when I wasn’t hungry. I concluded that a lot of my eating was habitual, it was lazy and not particularly mindful.
I love food, and I think about it a lot, so I do often enjoy and savour it while I’m eating. But during the Reset programme I noticed a lot of times when I was eating fast and not savouring my meal. It was often mechanical (I need to eat this food) rather than a pleasure sensation. Now I’m not saying that our every meal should become an exercise in pleasure sensation through the worship of food, but I think a few changes could be made. I found that if I ate smaller mouthfuls I could taste it more. I don’t really know why but maybe if I was concentrating enough to take smaller mouthfuls I was probably concentrating on savouring it too. Whatever it was, I found I enjoyed my food more this way.
I also became more mindful about what I really wanted to eat. Usually there is some point in the day when I eat without thinking. During Reset I was able to take a step back and think about whether I was really hungry or just worried I might be hungry soon – an anxiety that I’m afflicted with often. And also I was able look at food that I would unthinkingly eat (like a cold bowl of pasta that my kids had left) and say to myself that actually, that’s not very nice and I don’t want to eat it.
Wow, don’t I sound like a saint! I’m not of course, and I know myself enough to be pretty sure that when I come back from holiday in a few weeks these new ‘clean’ mindful habits will be consigned to the past. But at least I know that I can make changes in my eating habits, and I have faith that I can pick it all up again the next time I do Reset.
When you look at everything you do in a day, how much time do you spend doing activities that recharge you as opposed to activities that deplete you?
I’ve only realised in the last year or two that being near the sea really nourishes me. It has a calming, almost meditative affect and always clears my head and lifts my spirits. This year I am trying to make time to be near the sea, so today I re-arranged my diary and drove to the coast.
What do you do to nourish your soul and recharge your body?