Eating mindfully has been one of the more interesting and rewarding adventures of my life… I started like many of my clients “eating my feelings”, filling up with empty calories when I felt triggered or stressed out, until I decided to regain control, or even better, to find balance and stop the never-ending cycle of cravings, short-lived satisfaction, and guilt.
I started by observing the cycle, the process with its patterns and cultural nuances, with no judgment, without action or intervention, from there I went deeper and started noticing my feelings and thoughts… was I eating because I was hungry or bored, or maybe it was because I was sad… was there any shame or urge to finish quick, was I enjoying the moment?
Then I moved to an active role by tasting the foods with intention, separating flavors in my mind and decoding the feelings I was experiencing with each flavor, preparation, food, and even the situations that surrounded the meal: was it noisy, was I distracted… how did that influence how much I ate.
Mindfulness allowed me to connect the dots and get to a place of wholesome enjoyment, I started to participate in the whole process, differentiating when I am hungry from when I am thirsty or bored, knowing when I am trying to feel cared for or loved by craving or eating meals my grandma use to make for me. Now I am able to find an environment where I can pause and connect with the colors, smells, and flavors of my foods. I can take a break during the day to nourish my body with intention and that translates to the ability to avoid overeating.
After repeating the process several times, asking all the questions, and paying close attention to the answers, I am no longer a slave of the automatic process of seeing food, taking food, eating food, and feeling frustrated… instead, I am creating a virtuous cycle of self-awareness, autonomy, and ownership in the decision-making process, followed by intentional nourishment and satisfaction.
I am not perfect and some days I just want to have a fried empanada… but now I know the path to go back to where I want to be with my nutrition.