I’ve noticed that the more real and authentic I’m able to be on this blog, the more people engage with it and with me outside of it. Well, having meaningful human contact is one of the main purposes of my life, so let’s keep that up. Before we continue, I’m gonna throw up a Trigger Warning for disordered eating talk on this post.
I’ve been pretty candid in the past about my dietary experiments, namely, playing with adding and subtracting certain foods to my diet. I’m extremely comfortable (and enjoy) playing with the “what” aspect of mealtime. “How” has proven to be a much trickier subject.
I have a lot of issues with food and eating. The reasons are irrelevant, just know that they are old and deeply ingrained.
As I’ve been spending time trying to improve my wellness, I recently took a long, hard look at my actual eating habits. What I found… wasn’t pretty. It’s amazing what we can overlook about ourselves.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten very serious about incorporating mindfulness practice into mealtime. It’s something I’ve tried in the past, but never managed to make a habit out of it. Asking me to take one mindful bite of food? You’re basically asking me to run my nails down a chalkboard. Do not want.
But my life is about adventuring toward wellness, not running full speed away from it. So I did what I always do when things get tough: I set a timer for 5 minutes and ate as slowly and mindfully as I could until that timer went off.
You know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, it felt indulgent in the best possible way to take my time over my food and really focus on it. To pause occasionally and take a deep breath in the middle of a meal. I could do this.
Now when the timer goes off I don’t necessarily stay at the table and finish my meal in a mindful state; sometimes I want to get back to my reading, etc. But sometimes I do. Either way, I eat slower than I did before, and feel way better after the meal is over.
I’m not going to lie, this was a scary change for me to make. Engaging thoughtfully with food and mealtimes felt like a mountain too steep when I was at the bottom. Now that I know I can do it, I actually want to do it. The one time (so far) I’ve forgotten to do it, I was disappointed because I didn’t enjoy my meal as much.
Sometimes following through with the scary changes can lead to a much better place. Be brave and adventure on!