Going from mindless to mindful
Last night I had a delightful dinner with a dear friend. It had been a while since we had gotten together, life happens and time passes. But we caught up and it felt so good to spend the time together.
One of the things we touched on is our shared challenges with food. We both have had life long love and hate relationships with food and our weight has gone up and down because of it.
We agreed that we both emotionally eat…she does when she’s happy and I do when I’m sad and lonely. In either case it’s not a good relationship with something we MUST have in our life. We both also rolled our eyes when she said, “yea, you can’t give up food like you can alcohol or drugs and it’s all around us. That’s what makes it so much harder!”
Further, we touched on sugar and how horrible it is for you and how seductive it is as well. It’s a sneaky thing, that sugar, where you start out by rationalizing one little thing like, “a fun-sized candy bar” during Halloween. How bad can ONE fun-sized candy bar be…until it becomes six. “The WHOLE BAG of Halloween candy at Costco was only $10.00. I couldn’t pass up the deal!”
Then it’s trying to hide the candy by putting it in the freezer and then that NOT being a deterrent and microwaving it and realizing that the Three Musketeers candy bar is made with tin foil. (Yes, that was me and yes my microwave mimicked the Fourth of July fireworks.) I realized at that moment I was falling down a slippery slope.
So, like any healthy relationship and conversation between to people doing our best to learn and grow, we talked about what one can do to STOP BEFORE emotionally eating and I talked about being mindful and practicing The Pause.
Describing it further I said, “practicing the pause is, at a time when you feel yourself go into that “zombie zone” where you are about to mindlessly eating take a deep breath, pause and change direction…literally. Stop and come into yourself. It’s that space before doing something you shouldn’t, it’s becoming aware of it and sitting in it and moving into your body and mind in present moment and allowing your brain to meet up with your emotions.
Overeating, like any other destructive behavior, becomes a habit and then it becomes a mindless action that wreaks havoc in our lives. Diets don’t work…not for the long run. In order to STOP the bad habit we must become mindful and one step in doing that is to practice The Pause and redirect. Over time and consistency that habit can be broken.