If I asked you how many times this week you ate without any distractions, what would you say?
How many of those meals weren’t interrupted by cell phones, TV shows, work emails or driving the kids to soccer practice? Our busy lives have made us change our eating habits, and not for the better. So, when I challenge my Rebels to eat without any distractions, they all say the same thing: Eating is BORING. But is it really? Without something to distract us, we become aware of early ‘full’ signals and learn that we don’t have to eat until we’re stuffed[i]. More importantly, we learn that those foods we hold as ‘off limits’ and ‘treat’ foods, may not actually taste very good[ii]. The right food for you will be enjoyable and tasty, so why shouldn’t it also be fun? As a culture we’ve lost this wonderful appreciation for good food. I’m here to remind you to find the fun in food again.
Step 1: Take the Challenge.
You can eat whatever you want, as long as you sit down without your phone, without a newspaper, without the TV, and without anything else that distracts you from the food (the only thing that I feel is okay is music in the background). Allow yourself to taste every bite, and savour every flavour; make it an experience[iii]. Listen to your body, and listen to its cues. After this first step, many of my Rebels report eating less because they lose interest in the food sooner.
Step 2: Check in with yourself.
Was what you ate totally delicious? Was it absolutely drool worthy? Some people, like me, really love a good burger. I eat them often. But I’m fussy over where I’ll get one from. I want to enjoy it, and not just scarf it back. While many consider them ‘junk food’ I don’t. I don’t because I REALLY love them. I’ve accepted that burgers are a perfectly healthy dining option that I don’t need to feel guilty about. There are other ‘junk foods’ that I don’t eat, or at least I don’t eat often, because I realized that I don’t really like them. So, it’s an easy no for me.
Years ago, I remember constantly craving the foods that the nutrition industry labeled as ‘bad’. Those foods that we ‘shouldn’t’ eat hold a certain allure, because let’s face it, we humans want what we can’t have. We love the idea of being able to have that ‘holy grail’. So even if I didn’t really like that certain ‘bad’ food, I craved it and ate it with a cloudy mixture of guilt and excitement. Only once I started to eat with attention did I find out what I like and what I don’t. Without the emotional excitement clouding my judgement, it came down to me, my body and the food.
Step 3: Eat What you LIKE.
Once you stop restricting yourself from whatever that special food is, you’ll find that the cravings and food thoughts become less intense. Keep it simple; eat what you want, when you want. Just remember to listen to your body, and avoid the distractions. Let me tell you from experience, it’s a much more peaceful existence.
So is food really boring? Maybe in some ways; I might have to grieve the loss of a food that I once thought brought me joy. But if the food or the act of eating has become boring then the question becomes “am I really hungry?” or “is food what I really need right now?”. These questions allow you to openly change your perspective and build a healthy curiosity. And if sometimes you continue to eat anyway, that’s OKAY. It’s okay because you’re now aware of what you’re doing. It’s not mindless. Let it go and move on. More than anything, be kind with yourself through this process. Know that making mistakes along the way means that you’re making progress.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.