DAY # 23
EAT WHILE DISTRACTED.
It’s the day you and many participants have been waiting for….
Today I will one meal or snack UN-MINFULLY on purpose while I’m distracted (i.e. can be in the car, in front of the TV or on the phone, checking email, reading a book or magazine, etc).
When I first launched this program in 2016, several participants in my initial group interpreted this challenge as permission to unmindfully graze all day long. They decided to throw in the towel and go buck wild today, eating whatever they wanted in an out-of-control fashion. My intention was not (er, HNAT) to create a big “binge” day but it turned into that for some people who may have felt deprived, emotional, stressed and the need to revisit old eating behaviors and patterns. That’s fine.
What we are striving towards is allowing those behaviors to occur without the mental beat-down that takes place AFTER the overeating, binging, mindless habit. It was like let’s take 16 steps forward and then 20 back. Instead of focusing on the progress they made during the challenge, they saw this ONE DAY as a total failure.
ALL the changes they made the past two plus weeks was a distant memory. All the could focus on was this:
(like I always do and I’m a big ‘ol loser).
Why would they not give themselves an ounce of grace for doing something that is so familiar, so deeply ingrained to perhaps cope with an overwhelming emotion or pent up emotions? Because the foundational architecture of diets disconnects you from your inner belly wisdom and statistically sets you up for long-term failure with disordered food thoughts. And if you deviate from the diet, then you are just this horrible person who’s doomed to a life of guilt, shame and body hatred from yo-yo dieting + weight cycling.
The research shows that not many people are successful on a diet. In fact over 90% of the people who diet gain it back within 5 year (the Penn State research is HERE). That isn’t to say that weight loss is out of the question because it is very possible and happens to some people. But the manner in which you go about it can be dysfunctional or supportive.
Had I known that dieting would lead to disordered eating behaviors, beliefs, habits, patterns + thoughts, I would have run in the other direction. But I am so grateful for the journey and experience so that I can understand where the emotional, mental and psychological struggles lie and help people cross over to the other side mindfully.
We have to rewrite your food and body beliefs. It’s perfectly normal to experience stress or unwanted setbacks on the way to achieving your long-term goals! The goal is to extract the valuable learning lesson from each pleasant AND unpleasant experience and challenge our current food patterns so that we may evolve our mindful + intuitive eating habits.
Also remember, we are listening for pervasive diet culture floating through our head. The black and white dichotomous thinking that diets teach us. There is only “good” or “bad” – you are either ON a diet or OFF. There is no middle ground or wiggle room when you diet, only did you follow the rules or not.
But there is good news… the way to true food peace is to reconnect with your intuitive eating behaviors and create the mindful middle ground between restrictive diet behaviors and overeating/binging patterns. Initially you will still vacillate between restrictive behaviors and overeating habits like a pendulum on a metronome, but the arch between the two will get smaller and smaller and smaller….. until you find your mindful middle space. I call this the sweet spot
The goal of today’s challenge is to give ourselves permission to explore our mindless eating habits so we can make the decision to keep them or reframe + rework them. THAT’S ALL. Since diets never EVER teach us this skill, eating mindlessly can feel like total and utter failure. So just take a step back and see what you learned about yourself and food from the intentional, un-mindful experience.
The reason I have you purposefully eat unmindfully as we approach week three is for you to compare and contrast the past 2+ weeks of cultivating and developing mindful eating skills with eating unmindfully today. You may or may not notice much of a difference. You may or may not enjoy unmindful eating. There is no judgment, zero, just see if you can observe any difference between when you eat while distracted and then make the decision to continue doing it, decreasing it, or reframing it.
After your meal or snack ask yourself if you enjoyed your meal at the same level as when you eat it mindfully. Maybe more, maybe less. You want to be aware of any subtle changes, if any. If you’re participating in our private Facebook group, everyone grows from other people’s personal wisdom and experience.
Happy UNmindful eating! I did this challenge on Sunday night while watching a Netflix and wound up overeating the bag of Hippeas. I have the same experience EACH TIME I do this particular eating and environmental behavior so I definitely have some consistency! But the reframe is baby steps + progress, not perfection. Extract the learning lesson so the next time it happens you can choose more consciously one way of the other, without judgment!
CHECK-IN WITH YOU
After your meal or snack ask yourself if you enjoyed your meal at the same level as when you eat it mindfully? Maybe more, maybe less. You want to be aware of any subtle changes, if any, and share with me if you feel like doing so.
CHECK-IN WITH ME
If you shoot me an email (or have a scheduled appointment) we can discuss your experience and I can share with you mine. Happy UNmindful eating!