DAY # 1
WELCOME TO DAY 1 OF YOUR 30-DAY MINDFUL EATING CHALLENGE!
I am so excited to be guiding you through your mindful eating journey to help you create a healthier relationship with food and your body! It is really thrilling to be at the beginning and observe your evolution throughout the process.
I thought long and hard about how to start this challenge. In the past I liked to begin with establishing basic eating skills but then I realized that a lot of people might be ashamed, disappointed, disconnected, frustrated or ungrateful of their body and perhaps have been for a long time. Even if you have a strong and solid connection this is a fun reminder and exercise to reconnect on the daily. We are going to mentally connect to our bodies in a very loving, positive and nurturing way. Pay attention to any negative dialog that might come up, without judgement. Be aware of it, think about where it may have stemmed from, then just let go of it.
Ok, let’s connect to our body. This is a big part of the mind-body-spirit-belly(!) connection.
How do you do that? At the very least you can easily do this while lying in bed, either when you wake up or go to sleep. Just check in and feel your body. Sense the way your skin feels on the sheets, feel the support from your mattress, feel how the clothes or sheets feel on your skin, the weight of your comforter or blanket. Just start to create awareness and a connection to your body. Next, you can go through the exercise of giving your body some well-deserved appreciation for ALL. IT. DOES. Without recognition.
Sometimes I forget to do this body connection/gratitude exercise in the morning so plan B is the shower (since you are cleaning up, you can stay present and thank your body for the daily duties it does on auto-pilot instead of running through your “to do” list). Now, become aware of the water temperature, connect to how the soap smells and how the lather actually feels on your skin. Thank your toes and feet for always carrying you through your day without recognition. As you wash each body part, thank your ankles, knees, shins, calves, thighs and hamstrings for all they do without appreciation. Thank your amazing hips too! They play a huge part in movement so they totally deserve acknowledgement + love!
Next, give a BIG thanks to your belly and digestive system! Think of all the hard work it does on the daily, any abuse past or present that it has had to manage, and connect with your gastrointestinal system and THANK IT for continuing to digest food All. The. Time. Thank you GI system → “I am soo grateful for you, thank you for working all the time! You are THE BEST!” Connect and tell it that you want to take better care of it and will listen to the subtle and not so subtle messages it gives you. Make that promise to your body that you will start to pay attention at a higher level of awareness during the next 30-days (and ideally beyond) to what it is always trying to tell you. You are developing a crucial skill for success, the gift of creating a solid mind, body, spirit + belly connection. You and your body are not separate. You are not separate from your mind. You are not separate from your spirit. You are all one beautiful entity. Tony Robbins says “fake it ‘till you make it” so if this doesn’t feel genuine then just keep repeating it until one day it does. It will, I promise!
Now, thank your strong back and spine, your body’s main support structure. Its job is to keep you upright and support body weight. Give that spine a high five for all it has done, unrecognized. Spine, you rock! Thank your chest, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, and hands for all the tasks they do as well, without appreciation. Now thank your neck and head! Your neck houses blood vessels and nerves that supply blood to the brain and serves as a structure to the head of the body. Thank you neck for holding that head up high even on those days that I struggle. Thank you head for keeping me in the right frame of mind and being willing to embrace all the changes I am going through in a loving and graceful manner during this challenge.
I also encourage you to acknowledge all of your hard-working organs, your lungs for breathing on auto-pilot and filling your body with oxygen-rich blood, your heart for pumping on demand, without thanks or awareness on your part. PS: did you know that your heart pumps over 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels in 100,000 heart beats a day! Wow! Your heart will likely pump 1 MILLION barrels of blood in your lifetime; that’s equal to 2 oil tankers!! That’s one hard working organ! Heart you make me feel alive and I thank you for always showing up when I need you!
And here’s another organ that deserves some recognition and appreciation… your LIVER. Thank you liver for working so hard all the time, processing the contents of the blood, breaking down nutrition, carbs, protein, fat, sugar, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and anything else toxic that I put into my body. I am so grateful for you! I can exist with only 10% of you functioning but I promise to take better care of you so you can clean my body and help me stay healthy.
Thank you stomach for breaking down and digesting my food and churning it into a thin liquid so my intestines can absorb the nutrition my body needs to function. I know there have been times when I have abused you (ugh sorry!), given you a TON of work to do, perhaps more than I’d like to admit, then been disappointed with the results in the mirror or on the scale. I now reconnect to you and appreciate all you do. I will do my very best to honor you and listen to what you like and don’t like. There may be times that I struggle, but I am so thankful that you work hard for me and my goal is to get on board with what is optimal for you to function at your best level to nourish me and keep me healthy. I recognize and understand the importance of prevention for long-term success. I appreciate you body!
Thank you pancreas, gall bladder, kidneys, adrenals, thyroid, small and large intestines and bowels for functioning daily – I truly value the work you do to keep me healthy. More than likely I would suffer on some level without you, so thank you! Thank you AMAZING BODY FOR BEING YOU. I accept and love you unconditionally where I am and where I am going. I want to be healthy and live optimally, so that I can either discover my purpose or continue to fully live out my contribution to the planet and serve human-kind [fill in whatever feels appropriate and right in the moment].
This process can change from day to day and during the challenge I can’t encourage you enough to do this at least once daily. I find that the shower is an easy space to practice this form of positive body self-care. Post a note by your bed, on the bathroom mirror or on the shower to remind yourself to create a habit of this daily body love and gratitude practice (even 1 minute is better than zero!).
Your goal: after the 30-day challenge, you will have a stronger, more loving and grateful connection to your AMAZING body. Do HNAT compare your body to someone else (remember my last name is “Hnat” pronounced “not” so you’ll find me dropping the Hnat bombs, feel free to do the same with me). Your body is YOUR body and you should be proud of where you are at but also if you want to change then NOW is the optimal time to do that. Honoring, respecting and loving your body will help everything else during this mindful challenge.
As I mentioned, you can run through this form of self-love and respect when you first wake up and are still in bed, even for 60 seconds. Remember something, anything, is better than nothing. Ideally repeat this Body Love Practice (BLP) when you go to bed at night too. Rest your hands on your belly and at the very least, thank it for all the hard work it did during the day (and perhaps during the night depending on when you last ate). Thank every organ, joint, bone and anything else you feel inspired to thank for all their hard work! It’s a much kinder and peaceful way of drifting off to sleep, in a space of appreciation and gratitude, versus the negative highlight reel that loops in our brain. All the things we forgot to do or would have done differently. All the blah, blah, blah. Start to appreciate everything you have in your life and where you are – especially the fact that you are doing this 30-DAY MINDFUL EATING CHALLENGE! WOOT WOOT!
Ok, just for the record all the challenge topics won’t be this lengthy and thorough! I just want everyone to start establishing good body connection on the daily and had a LOT of body wisdom to share with you… start to practice this daily and I promise, magic will happen by the end of this challenge if you do nothing but this activity alone!