Mindful Monday – Emotional Eating
Welcome to Mindful Monday! Each week I try to examine new or sometimes old things about myself. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I attempt to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.
Everyone knows there is a distinct connection between stress and emotional eating. I can surely attest to succumbing to that effect the last couple of months. I noticed that as my stress levels rose I was turning more and more for solace through food. This does nothing for me except to increase my guilt because I am cheating and diverting from my food plan. This says nothing about how it affects my middle!
On Sunday, September 27, 2015, we witnessed a rare astrological event explained here by fellow blogger, Cherokee Billie:
“This is a powerful equalizing or neutralizing time, and as such is a good time to finally release things which have been a burden or stress in your life. This causes a temporary rebalancing for you at least for a couple weeks which can be a powerful time to start new projects or to finalize old ones you have been unable to bring a close to. The time is now!”
Cherokee Billie’s words really got me to thinking about new beginnings. I really feel the need to get my eating in check. The time is now and as I am writing this article I feel a surge of strength. Silver is getting her act together!
My journaling practice has been helping me to cope with my feelings of stress. Whenever I feel like life is spinning beyond my control (selling a home is never easy!) I have been writing about it. I decided to take this a step further and incorporated this journaling into my food diary.
As a life member of Weight Watchers, we were taught to journal our food daily. Our mantra is: “If we bite it, we must write it!”
I found a stenographer’s notebook that works perfectly for me. I divide the sheet into two days and add the date and number of Points Plus points I have to eat each day. I am following the plan as I did a couple years ago. Fruits and vegetables are zero points as long as you eat the correct portions. I use my measuring cups to measure the appropriate portions. As I eat it, I write down the items and subtract the Points Plus values. In addition, I keep track of the number of glasses of water (8 oz.) that I drink each day. I aim for 8 glasses to keep me hydrated and to flush food toxins out of my body.
Image credit: Pixabay Free Images
Now remember, this is how I do it. You may have a phone app that keeps track of your caloric intake, or some other way of tracking. The idea here is to keep track of what you are putting in your mouth. Make yourself accountable to yourself. This works for me. Do what works for you.
I also have started writing down what my triggers are. When do I feel the urge to eat? Lately, it has been in the evening. I have also found that if I have a cocktail or glass of wine I feel the urge to eat more. I think the alcohol takes away my inhibitions and I feel like I can cheat more! Another reason to watch what you are drinking is the Points Plus value of a 5 oz. glass of wine equals 5 points! Spirits are 4 Points Plus points per shot! When you only have so many Points to eat each day, you want to be careful how you are spending them.
Make sure to measure that wine: 5 oz. is much less than we realize!
Not long ago, I did a post about mindful eating, called “Eating Meditation.” I received an amazing Email from my friend, Christine and her blog, Before Sundown. I asked her if I could share her message with everyone and she agreed. Christine wrote:
“A Different Take on Food”
“There were times in earlier years from a teenager to my mid 40’s when I linked food to scary emotions; emotions of anger, abandonment, loss of control, and loneliness. Suffice to say it was a significant eating disorder. No need to elaborate, it’s long gone. What I can say in a few short paragraphs, how I maintained a healthy perspective on eating and food from then to now in my mid 70’s.
My different take on this food subject comes from changing my emotional brain’s link to food. It was sickening to give in to any one of the scary emotions and eat about it! It was exhausting to fight the battle between the emotional brain and the analytical brain with food in the middle.
As an older student, of the significant mid 40’s age, I remember the first healthy “thought” meal I ate at my university’s celebration dinner for Phi Beta Kappa recipients. The salad, baked chicken and vegetables acceptable to my analytical brain, but then came the dessert! Apple crumb cake with a dollop of whipped cream on top! I stared at it. You know which side was saying, “Go for it, you earned it.”
Lucky me, the analytical brain spoke up, “If you take a bite, you take responsibility for eating it, period. It’s not linked to any weird emotions (sweets always drove away scary emotions), and not even a reward for the award.”
That was the first baby step in healthy thought eating. Right then, I thought of nothing except I had a little stomach room left, and I ate half of it!”
Over the years I got better and better at having healthy thoughts about food with nutrition in mind, and whether my stomach was hungry, not my emotional brain.
It helped to find my voice and speak up, and to connect with good, fun-loving people. It’s a fact of life that not one of us will always be free of scary emotional thoughts. They do sneak in! The trick is to learn how to control them and not eat about them. For me, I’ll stick with the tried and true analytical brain to have the last word!
“Okay, Christine, you did well at breakfast with old-fashioned oatmeal and fresh berries. Now for lunch, how about a mozzarella cheese sandwich with a dollop of light mayo on gluten-free toast?”
Remember, don’t eat at the computer! Sit on the patio, enjoy the sunny day, or listen to the birds & the temple bell wind chimes. That’s getting close to Colleen’s Eating Meditation! Right on, A-Brain!” ~ Christine
Image credit: The Huffington Post.com
After reading Christine’s encouraging words, I knew I needed to incorporate more meditation into my daily life to help heal my crazy eating habits. Does meditation really work in the battle against weight loss?
My investigation led me to an excellent article on WebMD called, “Does meditation help you lose weight?” by Jenn Horton and reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC: (This is just an excerpt, you will want to read the whole article):
“Although there’s not a lot of research showing that meditation directly helps you lose weight, meditation does help you become more aware of your thoughts and actions, including those that relate to food.
For example, a research review showed that meditation can help with both binge eating and emotional eating.
“Any way to become more mindful will guide that process,” Perlman says.
How to Meditate
There are many ways to meditate. The CDC says that most types of meditation have these four things in common:
- A quiet location. You can choose where to meditate — your favorite chair? On a walk? It’s up to you.
- A specific comfortable posture, such as sitting, lying down, standing, or walking.
- A focus of attention. You can focus on a word or phrase, your breath, or something else.
- An open attitude. It’s normal to have other thoughts while you meditate. Try not to get too interested in those thoughts. Keep bringing your attention back to your breath, phrase, or whatever else it is you’re focusing on.
Pick the place, time, and method that you want to try. You can also take a class to learn the basics.”
Image credit: Spark People.com
That’s it! This is my continuing journey into mindful eating and coping with my emotional attachments to food. I am learning to become more mindful of what my triggers are and how I deal with them. I am writing about my emotions and learning from my own feelings. I am following the path of a mindful eater. I feel empowered!
Image Credit: Mindful Teachers.org
Would you like to share your mindfulness journey with others? If you are interested in sharing your goals or aspirations, I want to highlight your journey here on Silver Threading. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to feature you on a guest post.
Remember, this is not a challenge. This is an offering of support. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making. If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary. My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.
Image credit: Everyday Positive Quotes
I wish you all much joy and peace this week!