Sticking it to the Book
sondre lerche
So, for day 2 of my eating mindfully journal (day 2 was actually yesterday, I'm just lazy) I was supposed to sit in a calm place without distractions while eating a meal in silence. The point of this was to learn eating awareness like knowing my emotions as I ate, and knowing how much I ate compared to how much I needed to.

Well, I have already failed the book, because I did not really do this.

I learned that I really only enjoy eating when I'm watching something on TV, reading, or playing my 3DS. This is because when I'm home I usually eat by myself, because I'm the only one home during the day and since I am a vegetarian I eat a separate meal from my parents. Plus, I'll be honest, I don't like eating with them because my dad insists upon watching Fox News, which I can't stand. So, to keep myself entertained while eating, I'll watch TV. I thought of doing this exercise, but I simply really did not want to. Maybe my taking a stand showed me how much I depend on distractions while I eat. I know it's bad, because then when I watch TV or a movie, I feel like I have to be eating even when I'm not hungry. So, maybe I did not sit in a calm place and think, because it would be less fun for me and TV helps me relax. Either way I think it showed me how much I depend on other things to keep me occupied while I eat. Is this a bad kind of addiction? Probably.

But, I do have to level with you here, judgmental journal. I am 20 years old, 5'7" and ~163 lbs. I am not overweight by today's standards. However, I still feel like I am too big, and I would like to slim down. For a few months, I skipped meals and pretended to eat. I lost 10 lbs in the process and was skinnier than I had been since junior high for christ sake. I then decided it was okay to eat unhealthy for a little while, which I know is the dieting fallacy, because I couldn't stop eating junk food once I started. In fact, I really felt like I was binge eating, and eating so much sometimes that it hurt. But, it wasn't to the point of bulimia or anything; I actually have a phobia of vomiting ever since I was hospitalized for norovirus earlier this year. Still, I know that this is the wrong way to go about things. Whatever it is, I do have an unhealthy relationship with food, but I think it goes deeper than enjoying a veggie burger during 30 Rock.

A Healthy Relationship With Food
eli gold
My mom has a Kindle Fire, and I was looking at the free books it offers last week. I found one about how to learn to eat mindfully (aka have a healthy relationship with eating) in 21 days. I suspect that self-help books are usually full of shit, but even so, I'm willing to try it because I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

It suggests keeping a journal and answering the questions it asks daily. I'm not much for keeping journals, though I've blogged before, but I think this is a good place to start. Public enough so I'm pressured to continue on with it, but private enough to know that I doubt anyone will read it.

So, for the first day, before I sat down for a meal I was supposed to discuss my hunger signals, and talk about what I was hungry for. Then it asks if nourishing the body is like feeding the soul, then what would I change?

Silly, right? But we'll try it.

Yesterday, after doing a half hour of Pop Pilates, which I am going to attempt to do every day this summer, I knew I was hungry. It was around 3, so not quite any specific mealtime, but since I had just burned calories for once I could feel my stomach growling. While sometimes I might eat out of boredom or because I have a sudden craving to taste something, I know I ate this time because of actual hunger. And, because I did not want to ruin my workout, I decided to opt for healthy food: toasted wheat bread with peanut butter, and some red grapes. Not quite a meal, just a healthy snack for a vegetarian like myself. I guess after doing the exercise I was more inspired to eat something well-rounded and nourishing.

I felt that I was hungry for peanut butter, not only because I love the flavor, but because protein is important after working out. So even while I was doing pilates, I began hungering for peanut butter. I thought of having it on toast because I would like the fluffy fiber of the bread at the same time. I added grapes to the mix because it just seemed refreshing after having such a thick and sticky food. I thought of having two slices of toast, but I changed my mind, knowing I probably didn't need that much.

If eating was about nourishing the soul, this is the kind of thing I would eat. Tasty, well-rounded, and healthy. When I eat junk food I later think about how my body is probably starved for nutrients after taking nothing from that, so these types of meals make me feel like I've healed my body in a way. But, I definitely don't eat like this all of the time. I eat not only because I'm hungry, but when I see or randomly think about certain junk foods I almost become addicted to the idea of having them. I'm not quite sure why, but I suppose I'll find out.


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