DAY # 17
Ok, I know yesterday was definitely a challenge for some people – shake it off and let’s focus on today’s skill development!
Today I will eat every meal and snack without any distractions like a TV, computer, book, phone, magazine, kindle or fill in the blank.
Focus on your FOOD today without being distracted by anything else. Conversation is ok – but nothing else to prevent you from creating awareness around what you are doing and how you are feeling at mealtimes! You want to focus on the activity of eating and any emotions that might be stimulated by removing distractions like watching TV, talking on the phone or reading.
The popularity of this challenge can go either way – it’s usually a struggle for a lot of people, myself included at breakfast since it’s easy to fall into multi-tasking while trying to race out the door. But then other participants enjoy taking time out for themselves, sitting down, and reconnecting with their meal and body by eating in peace. Today it’s all about your food. Make sure to do this during one meal or snack today. Like so many other skills, this is a crucial one for many people who struggle with distracted eating which can easily lead to overeating and hitting the upper end of the hunger/fullness scale.
The ultimate purpose of this challenge is for you to increase the satisfaction factor of your food. When you are distracted at meal times, you miss out on not only tasting but also savoring your food. When you place emphasis on fully experiencing, exploring, and tasting your food, you give yourself a better opportunity to experience a higher level of satisfaction than if you shovel food in your face as quickly as you can to avoid having to eat alone. It’s a shame that more focus isn’t placed on creating meal satisfaction with nourishing your body, but it’s a crucial aspect to having a healthy relationship with food and your body. You can’t sprinkle in shredded satisfaction like you can coconut, you have to truly work on the experience yourself. Practicing mindful eating habits can get you there.
The other purpose of tuning in during meals is to assess whether or not you enjoy the food. When you eat while distracted, you can’t tune in to whether or not you actually like what you are eating. During my mindful eating journey I realized that I really didn’t enjoy the taste of bananas and so I said, then why am I eating them? This is a vital skill to develop so that you can truly find the foods, textures, tastes, and sensations that will boost your meal satisfaction. And when you feel satisfied, you’re less likely to keep hunting around for more food.
And finally, and perhaps more importantly for people who struggle with overeating behaviors, distracted eating prevents you from tuning into and listening to your belly wisdom. When you eat undistracted, you start to finesse your personal fullness numbers on the 1-10 scale. We are practicing and stacking mindful and intuitive skills on top of each other so that you can listen to the subtle and not so subtle cues your belly and body are giving you. Deleting distractions is a key piece to discovering your innate “portion control” mechanism. It doesn’t mean that you will never under or overeat, but you will be more in tuned to know when to say when.
Pay attention to any thoughts, feelings, or emotions that might arise as you force yourself to eat a meal or snack without distractions. The first time I did this I basically had to sit on my hands, leave my phone in my purse, and FORCE myself to think WHY I was so uncomfortable with eating by myself, undistracted. Why is this challenge so hard for you?
Don’t forget about that body love, rating your hunger levels, and sitting down at a table for meals.
Do the best you can. Remember the biggest piece of this challenge is there is NO JUDGMENT! From me or from yourself. Also delete comparing yourself to anyone else in the challenge. Some participants have been working with me for months and/or are frequent flyers for the 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge because they continue to refine their skills. They struggled just like you will so you do YOU!
We are all doing the best we can at the level of awareness that we are at. You are cultivated mindful eating skills so give yourself a pat on the back for taking this journey!