Monday, 16 November 2015

How mindful eating is like a trip to the beach

Have you ever swam in the ocean?

I remember the first time I did. I grew up around lakes and rivers so you can imagine how vast and intimidating the ocean is compared to, well, anything else. Forget the blow up mattress and quiet lounging in the water- I was in for a surprise. Did I mention this was the east coast of Australia? Not Cape Cod or Cuba. The waves were about 4 feet high- on a calm day.

I was told that the best way to avoid being hit by the crashing waves, in order to get into the calmer water beyond, was to swim through the area where they are breaking. You have two choices: curl into a ball and duck under the crashing wave or dive through it. I was kind of in shock about the size of the waves, let alone being told I should dive into a breaking wave. Well, I survived (to no one's surprise but my own) and learned a valuable lesson- sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and dive right into the thing that is the most terrifying.

This got me thinking of other scary events in life that need this sort of strong approach. A thought came to me as I was reading Beyond a Shadow of a Diet by Judith Matz. She reminds the reader that in order to break the diet cycling & emotional eating and to start eating more mindfully, it is important to truly immerse yourself in mindful eating. Dabbling in it or "trying it out" for a while before going back to dieting only sets you up for failure. It is important to give it a real go and believe it may work for it to help anyone.

So, getting into mindful eating is similar to dealing with large ocean waves. You have to take a deep breath and a leap of faith and dive through the very thing that scares you. This leap of faith includes leaving all you know about dieting and restricting food back on the beach. Abandoning all the rules that allow you to feel temporarily comfortable and reduce the need to think about what/when/how much to eat is scary. Most people who have dieted a lot have lost their confidence in choosing the right foods for themselves. If they have ever binged or felt out of control with their eating, then they likely feel very incapable of eating foods they like and stopping when they feel full. Let me tell you- there is HOPE and MANY solutions for anyone who may be dealing with emotional eating or binge eating. You do not have to feel alone, ashamed or hopeless.

Leaping into mindful eating is important because if you believe that this eating is only temporary, you can't give up the diet mentality and this is key! Following external advice (like a diet) rather than your internal wisdom, does not allow you to learn to read your body's signals of how hungry you are, how much you need to feel full & satisfied and what you feel like eating. These are all things that are important to learn in order to eat well for life.



If you are interested in learning more about the the author of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet click here.
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