Saturday, November 26, 2011
Mindful eating is not the magic key to weight loss, but for me it's a step in the right direction.
Before SparkPeople, I felt sick and rarely knew why. It wasn't after I was aware of how much sodium I consumed that things fell into place (thanks to the Nutrition Tracker). As I changed my nutrition, it turns out that I realized that I get into long stretched out patterns of "eating cycles". Sometimes it's one or more of these things: emotional eating, too-large portions, under-eating or skipping meals, empty calories/calorie dense choices.
The great thing is that I've also learned that it doesn't take too many tweaks to go between eating healthfully and eating out of balance.
*When I pay attention to my body, I realize that eating excessive amounts of sugar makes my tummy hurt, my throat sticky, and sometimes gives me a headache.
*When I'm mindful of my food, I am more satisfied at a meal with a smaller portion of food. I eat until I'm not hungry anymore instead of when I feel uncomfortably bloated (and subsequently overstuffed).
*When I pay attention to eating, I realize if I'm eating something just because it's in front of me, or because I really want it. I can't tell you how often I've finished meals I didn't like or ate ingredients that made me slightly ill just because I ordered it.
*I've learned what really does and does not taste good to me.
*I am slowly, finally starting to learn the difference between what my eyes think I want to eat and the amount my tummy and taste buds can handle. (Portion sizing helps with this.)
*I found out that often if something doesn't taste the way I was anticipating, I continue to eat it until it's all gone, still seeking out that "ideal taste", hungry for more, even if I'm full. (This is why I avoid "low-fat" versions of things. I usually really desire the full experience - the texture as well as the flavor. I'd rather have a smaller amount of the real thing and be satisfied.)
When I think about my food choices, or ponder my decisions and consciously still pick the unhealthy behavior I have to wonder, "So, why, with all of this knowledge, am I still eating poorly?" I'm still sorting out all of the puzzle pieces, but the big picture is forming. Mindful eating is the key (for me) to inspiring little, then bigger changes, such as reasonable portion sizes, healthier food choices, less sauces and dressings, etc. And those things keep adding up to create a great big lifestyle shift. I was definitely fully into that swing when I lost 100 pounds in 2008, and I'm fighting to stay away from auto-pilot, and figure out exactly how to keep my brain in the Spark Adventure mindset.
I'm so glad I have SparkPeople to help me! :)