One Simple Step to Take to Stop Overeating

I sat in the sunshine on the front steps of my house. It’s finally warm enough here in New Hampshire to be outside.  It’s lunch time and I’ve left my laptop, phone, iPad and any other reading material at my desk. It’s just me and my big-ass salad. No work. No distractions.

For years, I would work through lunch. I would eat quickly at my desk, prioritizing a project deadline or catching up on emails ahead of anything else. I firmly believed that I didn’t have the time, not 5 minutes or  20 minutes, to take the time to just eat. Work was too busy and I had to keep checking things off my “to do” list.  Taking the time to eat was simply a  waste of time. I could be more efficient and effective by multi-tasking.

During that same time, my relationship with food was all about:

·       limits and restriction,

·       numbing and overeating,

·       shame and defeat, and

·       disconnection and discomfort.

I was desperate to lose that last 5,10, or 15 pounds and I was trying every diet I could to do it. What I didn't realize at the time was that my painful relationship with food was in large part due to not listening to my body. 

How can anyone tune in to hunger cues, fullness signals or how certain foods made their body feel if they don't listen?

When you don’t eat with your full attention, you are missing an opportunity to notice feedback that your body desperately wants you to have.   

Now that I eat my meals with all of my attention, I leave food on my plate. After decades of overeating and binge eating, this simple habit is a small miracle. I notice when I’m no longer hungry. I no longer rush through my meals. I enjoy the taste of what I’m eating and feel much more satisfied. Eating has become a nurturing act of connection.

If you are reading this while eating your breakfast, lunch or dinner, put your fork down and push your meal away, even for a few moments.  

Practice eating at least one meal a day without any distraction.  Start with the meal that’s the easiest to focus completely on.

When I first started not working through lunch, it only it took me 12 minutes to eat. I quickly realized that taking this small amount of time allowed me to return to work with fresh eyes and renewed energy. I increased my productivity by giving myself this break.

Whether or not you struggle with overeating and binge eating,  doing one thing at a time and being mindful is the key to fully experiencing life. Consider that taking time to simply eat a meal is a way for you to slow yourself down and enjoy a few moments in the day. Practice eating with all of your attention. It will become practice for how you want to live: fully awake, connected, and present to the warm sunshine on your face.

 

Why We Let Diets Distract Us From Living

**This is the second post of a multi part series on why diets and the diet mentality simply cannot work, the distraction and impact diets can have on living the life we are meant to live, and how to shift our view of food to eat in a way that supports our health and vitality, and ultimately brings our bodies back into balance.  **

Do you remember your very first diet? If it was anything like mine, I felt so motivated and inspired to take on this brand new undertaking. I poured through the pamphlets, note cards of recipes and calendars of eating plans.  After all, I wanted to lose weight, and this was a way for me to get there.

I treated this diet like a part time job and was willing to go to great lengths to follow it to a T. I chose to forego wedding cake at my cousin’s wedding, bring my own meals out to a restaurant, and stay up late logging my food intake and counting calories.

If you can relate, you also believed this effort was an investment into a skinnier version of yourself. But what I was really doing was sacrificing my precious time, energy, and attention in the moment for some future hope. Instead of enjoying my life with family and friends at a wedding, I found myself fretting over cake. Instead of enjoying a great conversation and connecting with friends at a restaurant, I worried about what I was eating. Instead of getting a good night’s sleep or reading a great book, I assessed my performance on my diet plan.  

For many, the diet mentality locks us into a belief that we must sacrifice today to have the body and the life we desire tomorrow. We take that thinking one step further and actually put our life on hold for some fantasy in the future. In the backs of our mind, we believe:

“My life will be ________ when I weigh ________” . Fill in the blanks.

My life will be complete when I can fit into my skinny jeans. Or, when I wear a size 6, I’ll be finally the young professional woman I think I should be, and I’ll have it all. Or, when I lose 15 pounds, more men will be attracted to me, and I’ll be in an amazing relationship.

But we can’t blame diets and a diet mentality for this. They are not the problem. They are just covering up something much more painful that we don’t want to confront: We believe we are not good enough.

This mentality started before we went on our first diet. The diet was there to distract us from looking at this painful belief. If we run from it and hide from it by dieting, maybe we can convince ourselves that we are good enough and prove this little voice inside of us wrong.

While we are dieting our life away and putting our hopes and dream on hold until we finally believe we have become good enough, life is happening around us. Our bodies may not be perfect. Our life may not be ideal. But they are the only ones we have, and we don’t get another one or another chance. We can live our life trying desperately to change our bodies and our lives, or we can live today like we want to live and feel at peace with our bodies and our lives. Stop struggling with the thought, “I’m not enough.” It’s simply not true. You are enough. Your body is enough. Your life is enough. Put down the fight and the distractions that come from dieting and pick up the truth. Your life is waiting for you, and it’s time to live it! 

With Love and Inspiration~

Tara