Charlene is a journey of mindful health and self-care
Posted on 01/13/2014 @ 12:46 PM
As I started to fill my plate, there were clues. Lots of clues that I was vulnerable to emotional, mindless eating:
• Clue #1: My urge to eat was intense.
• Clue #2: I felt anxious, tense and hurried.
• Clue #3: I didn’t want to even ask myself, “Am I Hungry?” because I might not be, and then I might feel like I shouldn’t eat…and I was definitely going to eat!
• Clue #4: The baked “fried-style” chicken and mashed potatoes were absolutely irresistible--hot, chewy, comfort food from my childhood. The fresh green beans and biscuit and honey were bonus.
• Clue #5: I could hardly wait to put food in my mouth and CHOMP!
• Clue #6: I was ready to pile huge portions on my plate.
I took a breath. I slowed my pace. I stood in the pause. I reminded myself that asking, “Am I hungry?” doesn’t mean I can’t eat if the answer is no. There is only one rule and that is to ask. I also reminded myself that the Am I Hungry® Mindful Eating Program (http://amihungry.com/) is about awareness and choices, not rules. As well, I reminded myself how much more I enjoy my meals when I eat mindfully.
I quickly performed a Body-Mind-Heart Scan, and as a result was more aware of both my hunger level and the intensity of my emotions. Indeed, I was hungry and my emotions were strong.
As I started to place the food on my plate, I consciously chose the amount that I thought best matched my hunger level. Then, off to one side of my plate, I placed a little more to placate my emotions. It calmed them a bit to reassure myself that I could choose how much to eat, even if it meant being very full when I finished. I did not need to follow someone else’s rules.
I ate mindfully and after I had finished the hunger-level portion, I checked back in and discovered that the guessed portion was a good match and that I was no longer hungry. I also checked in with my emotions. During the time that I had been eating mindfully, my emotions had calmed significantly. I did not feel as compelled to overeat. I ate 2 more bites of mashed potatoes, and cut up the remaining chicken to put in a salad for lunch the next day.
At the end of the meal, I was physically satisfied, more emotionally balanced, and again grateful for the program and the tools it provides that prepare me for eating urges such as this one.