Health and Fitness Tactic 3 – Being Mindful

“I’ll just have a small cake….”

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.

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