Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mindless eating

As I explore further into my relationship with food, I see how mindless so much of my eating is. I seldom focus on my food. If I'm eating with others, I'm paying attention to what I say or what they say. If I eat alone, I usually read or work or write in my journal. At the very least, my mind has wandered off to some problem to solve, happy to have my full attention.

This morning I ate peanut butter toast and a bowl of fresh fruit from a stand in a rural part of the county. I was thinking about time (how I had quite a few things to get done before a group arrived 30 minutes later (shower, straighten up the living room, do the dishes, empty the garbage which was not smelling so sweet in the heat, find my notebook, and see if I could take care of any of the commitments I'd made to the group last month in the remaining minutes).

Only now, writing this, do I see how ludicrous this is. Where in the world was there time to pay attention to my food?

I actually did pay attention at several instances. Part of the fruit was a fresh peach and its flavor with the peanut butter was exquisite enough to sit up and take notice. And it was a sharp enough experience to bring the food into focus, although I quickly turned my mind over to something else.

The same kind of thing happened at lunch. I was eating a very good sandwich but working at my desk. Occasionally, I'd stop and really appreciate a bite and then my attention would be drawn back to the computer screen or a random thought would come through and my mind would chase it.

Clearly, mindful eating takes, well, mindfulness. How do I become willing to slow down and do that?

3 comments:

Jan Shannon said...

Jill, I too have been exploring mindfulness when eating, mindfulness of my body (am I hungry? What does my body want?). I'm exploring, in audio format, Geneen Roth's book "Women Food and God" and finding it powerful.

I'm looking for someone to walk through the online retreat she has available, to help me stay on track and accountable for working through the exercises instead of downloading it and never using it, like most online courses I buy.

I'm very interested in this mindfulness piece. I think it actually could be the key, for me. I'm curious to hear more from you as you explore too.

Catherine said...

Hi Jill, I was happy to receive your blog and certainly related to your comments.
I to am struggling living without mindless eating. The more stress I experience the heavier I get. I've lost 50% of my lung capaticy, my son moved back home with cancer presently in chemo and I've discovered I eat when I'm stressing, tired or angry(not enough brains to go to bed and rest.

Vicki said...

Hi Jill,
I am also working on Mindful Eating. I think of it as parallel to meditation. I expect my mind to wander but just gently bring it back to my breath--or, in this case to the flavor and site of the food.