I just started reading and working through The Writing Diet (thanks to the Living Healthy in Our 40s group for discussing this among their most inspiring books!). The focus of this is journaling. For me, there is something relaxing about putting pen to paper--I think partly because I'm a pretty private person. Well, the truth is I'm an independent person and don't really want anyone else's opinion, which you generally get if you say things out loud.
But writing lets me sort through my thoughts on my own.
Anyway, the task I've been working on is to think about my motivation for eating each time I eat. And to ask myself 4 questions:
1. Am I hungry?
2. Is this what I want to eat?
3. Is this what I want to eat now?
4. Is there something else I could eat?
I confess I almost thought I could skip this. I'm not a binge eater and don't eat to smother depression or other major emotional malady. At least not usually. I mean, not unless I'm super busy, or majorly stressed, or overly tired, or wired, or have a headache ... When I really pause to THINK about eating every time I think about eating (not just when I actually do eat), it's sort of amazing how often it isn't about being hungry.
Sure lots of times when I see a yummy looking snack and think , I've worked hard maybe it's time for a break, I'm aware enough to follow that thought up with the realization that taking a break isn't the same as needing a snack. But if I'm busy, if my mind isn't focusing on my food choices, sometimes that snack makes it to my mouth before I've even given it a thought. Sometimes I eat out of habit, sometimes I eat out of boredom, sometimes I eat to be social. In other words, whenever I eat without thinking about it first, I am pretty much guaranteed to blow it.
Except, and here's the key to my weight loss so far I think, if I've thought about it ahead of time and stacked the odds in my favor for those thoughtless eating moments. For example, I leave healthy treats out on the counter. I pack a lunch of good food every day when I go to work. I eat at regular times and don't wait until I'm over hungry and likely to over eat. I've created so many healthy habits over the past year with the help of SparkPeople, and I can see and feel the difference in my health and energy level.
But as I move into the season of mindless eating, I am going to try really hard to think before I eat, every time I want to put something in my mouth, about WHY I want to eat, WHAT I really want to eat, and WHEN I really want to eat it. Because there is definitely a place during the holidays for indulging in special treats. You know those things you really enjoy and savor (some things for me are pumpkin pie, a glass of wine during a leisurely social dinner, egg nog, dark chocolate oranges). But there's no point in indulging in a treat if you don't stop and think about how much you want it and how much you're going to enjoy it. And certainly not if it's in your mouth and gone without even realizing you've eaten it.
So here's my holiday promise to myself: I will indulge in mindful eating and thoroughly enjoy each treat of the season that I choose to indulge in! I will not eat things i don't want, won't eat more than I am hungry for, and won't eat now what I'd enjoy more at another time. Happy eating to me!