Deep thoughts about mindfulness

It’s friday, which means you won’t hear from me alllll weekend, which I know makes you oh so sad. So I thought I’d leave you with some deep thoughts to ponder until Monday.

This is an old, old picture of me, looking very mindful, don’t you think? Or maybe I just look like a goofball. And do you spot anything else funny? I’m not going to say what it is because if you don’t see it, I don’t want to draw attention. Just wondering.

Anyway, back on topic. I’ve been taking a class through an organization called Wellcoaches, in order to get continuing education credits for my ACSM certification, and also because I hope to incorporate wellness coaching into my career. When I am through, I will be infinitely more qualified to tell you what to do! Last week we did some reading on the topic of incorporating mindfulness into daily activities like exercise, work, playing with your kids or whatever else you want to be more present for. Mindful eating is another popular trend right now. There are a vast number of authors, teachers and talk show guests (Oh Oprah, how I miss you!), all trying to convince us to practice mindfulness while eating. They say it will help us enjoy meals more, and better recognize the cues our body gives us about what to eat and when to stop. I have a sneaking suspicion that is so true, and unfortunately I do the exact opposite. Unless I’m eating a family dinner, I’m reading something while I’m eating. Magazines, books, the internet, even a catalogue from Pottery Barn will do. Anything to occupy me while I’m eating. What I think it’s time to admit is that eating should be the occupation. I know I certainly eat more when I eat while reading. I know I drink more when I drink while watching t.v. It’s a lot easier to go on autopilot with the popchips when your brain is focused on something other than how your body feels about what it’s being filled with. Which I think, at least for me, is sometimes the point, though obviously it’s not a good one.

So after doing my reading, and listening to the class discussion, and tossing this whole mindful eating thing around in my head for a few days, I’ve decided it’s a great place for me to start making some positive changes. One of my personal wellness goals is to pay more attention to how my body feels and to treat it nicely, feeding it the healthy food it needs, and only as much as it needs (with a little bit of cake tossed in here and there for sanity’s sake). Full disclosure: exercise has always been easy for me–a joy and a necessary part of my life–but in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I definitely struggle some with food. I’m aiming to change that. 

Let’s just say I’ve had a few false starts. Do you have any idea how hard it is to just sit while you are eating? I keep reaching for something, anything to look at when I sit down for lunch. It’s like a disease or a compulsion or something–I’m reading, I need a snack, I’m snacking, I need to read. Back and forth and back and forth and bahhhhh! But today I’ve decided to really commit. So for snacks, lunch and dinner, I will do nothing else but eat (and correct my kid’s table manners). I’ve decided to give myself a pass for breakfast because that’s the only time I have to read the newspaper, which I love to do. Plus, I have the exact same healthy breakfast every day, so it’s not a mindless eating meal for me. Sometime next week I’ll update you on my progress.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from  you. Do you multi-task when you eat? Do you ever grab one more handful of trail mix just so you have the excuse to keep reading People magazine a little longer? Nah, I don’t do that either. Have you ever experimented with being more mindful at anything?


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