Mindful eating

Friday, 9 August 2013

As I get older I find many of my goals somewhat shifting, one of which is a weight-loss goal.  I've come to realise that the ideal weight goal in my head, to be frank, just isn't going to bloody happen in this lifetime.  It's not so much that it's not achievable, I have no doubt that if I ever got my arse into gear I could eventually get there yet I have to ask myself, why do I feel the need to get there? Sure, i'd look better and clothes would fit better and hell, I'd probably be more confident yet would it make me happy? would it make me content? would it essentially change who I am? and there lies the problem because I don't think it would.  At times there is some perverse comfort in being fat, it's a barrier and an excuse to be miserable an thus acting as a self defense mechanism by stopping you addressing the underlying roots of why we're really not as happy as we feel we could or even should be and placing unrealistic expectations on something changeable that won't actually change anything that genuinely matters.  Size does not equal happiness.

Surely if I wanted to be slim bad enough I'd be on the 30-day shred bandwagon, start cross fit, overcome my aversion to salad and just do it.  Maybe i'm just fucking lazy, okay I am lazy but that's beside the point.  To be the weight that's in my head it would always be a work in progress, a lifestyle and in all honesty not one that thrills me.  I like food.  I like bad food.  I hate exercise.  To maintain a weight significantly lower than what I am now would necessitate a constant state of deprivation that life is simply too short to adhere to.

 So I'm going to meet myself halfway.  Rather then aim for the lower ideal weight/BMI i'm aiming for the upper ideal.  It's more attainable for me and would be easier to naturally maintain.

Dieting sucks.  No really.  It sucks the life out of you.  It sucks your money out of you.  It sucks enjoyment of food out of you.  For someone with deeply ingrained long term issues with weight and unhealthy eating habits (binging/starving) it's not a diet that's needed it's relationship with food change.  I need to change how I eat and why I eat.

I admit to being tempted by intermittent fasting, where you feast/eat normally for 5 days a week and fast for 2 yet once again feel rather then naturally control my metabolism it would trigger more binge eating.  The science behind it is rather convincing yet alas, not for me.

So that leads us to the notion of mindful eating.  I first came across this a few years ago via Paul McKenna an his I can make you slim book an CD.  I admit to approaching this with a large pinch of salt and a side helping of curiosity.  The book you can read in one sitting, but you know what?  It makes sense.

At the risk of making this book seem overly simple, here are Paul McKenna's 4 golden rules...
1. When you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want (not what you think you "should".)
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. When you are full stop.

It seems obvious and sheer common sense, yet take a minute and read it again.  You may know the rules but do you honestly implement them? You don't have to clear your plate. Stop eating when you're full not when your plate is empty.  Before you eat that biscuit ask yourself , are you hungry?  If so, fanfuckingtastic, enjoy! if not...why are you eating it? You're not hungry.  The biscuit isn't the answer to what you need.  There is no spoon.

There's other tricks you can implement too such as using a smaller plate, chew every mouthful at least 10 times, drink a pint of water before you eat, put your knife an fork down between every mouthful.

It's not changing what you eat but changing why you eat an how you eat.

So, I dusted off my old mp3 player, battled with the tangled earphones wires and let The Toddler glutton on the boobs, hell I even let him nipple twiddle (whilst gritting my teeth an resisting the urge to swear, loudly)  in the futile hope he'd go to sleep quicker.  Like some master ninja, I expertly extracted myself from The Toddlers grasp, took a deep breath and laid down. I'm so ready for this, yeah baby i'm relaxed.com.  In the mood.  In the zone.  I magically transform from harassed mum into Super Zen woman ready to be reprogrammed   The new-worldy music starts and I'm waiting for the whales to start singing and lotus blossoms to bloom yet all I can think about is the fact I really need to pee whilst going over the weeks shopping list in my mind.  Then the dulcet tones of Paul start to infiltrate my pysche, wooing me into pliability.....shit, was that someone knocking at the door? Okay i'm feeling it, i'm flippy floppy mental putty.  Was that thunder outside? False alarm, it's just the wheelie bins. I'm picturing myself slim, fuck me i'm gorgeous...I totally would. He's still warbling into my ear whispering sweet nothings but i'm still reveling at the sight of a super hot me in my mind playfully flicking my hair and giggling flirtatiously until I remember the pack of Oreo's in the cupboard and my mouth starts to water and the mental image of thin me in my mind starts to inflate to dramatic and somewhat comical proportions. Arse. Focus, I tell myself sternly.  Yet whenever I try and lose myself to the voice in my ear, I start to giggle. Suddenly it all feels ridiculous,  especially his voice.  His subtle persuasive suggestions sound comical and akin to a pubescent teenager trying to impress a MILF and before I know it I'm having to curl into a ball an stuff my fist kinkily into my mouth to try an prevent my guffaws from waking The Toddler. 

Well, there goes the hypnosis. Damn. I wanted my psyche to be subliminally seduced into behaving around food and thus making me slim.

So back to square one it is then.  Forget the hypnosis.  I can be mindful with my eating without it.  Right now? I'm very mindfully eating my way through a pack of Oreos.


  1. I'm kind of lucky in that I enjoy some exercise. I do Shred, because I know it "gets results", but I go to boxercise because I enjoy it, same for pilates, and I get a kick out of the adrenalin of circuits. It doesn't help my weight much overall though, because exercise doesn't actually make you any thinner really, just more toned and muscular, which yeah, improves your metabolism but a gym sesh burns about as many calories as a half share bag of maltesers. Which I enjoy with a bottle of wine, and an Indian takeaway.

    I have the same troubled eating history, and my original problem with 5:2 was that the day after a fast day I just didn't have an appetite. So I would eat 500 cals on fast day, then not eat until teatime the next day and be a grumpy dizzy mess. I'm doing it again but this time I'm calorie counting every day and making myself have about 1750 on the non fast day. I've lost 3 lbs in 3 weeks, mostly because on my 1750 cal days I'm having anything between 700 and 2500 so it kind of balances out as maintenance.

    I've kind of resigned myself to the fact I'm never going to be thin or whatever, but I'm enjoying feeling strong and I think I'll stick at the exercise, and just hope my 6 pack shows through that extra 2 stone of flab.... ;)

    1. I wish I enjoyed exercise yet even as s kid I hated it lol.


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