Kate walked into the house after a long day at work. She dropped her handbag on the kitchen counter and went straight to the food cabinet. She was tired, frustrated and so eager to relax. She grabbed the bag of chips and salsa, poured herself a glass of wine and then parked herself in front of the TV.
Less than an hour later, ¾ of the bag of chips had disappeared. Without noticing, Kate just stuffed herself. And now, instead of slipping into the easy part of her day, her belly was bloated and all she could do was watch yet another episode of Homeland.
Sadly, the promise of Kate’s low key and relaxing evening was just stolen from her. She quickly forgot about her plans to catch up with a friend and go to the gym. In her desperation for a well deserved break, she checked out of her body and lost all awareness of what she was doing while eating chip after chip. After chip.
Kate had a very easy tool that could have made her evening go exactly as she planned. A tool that she carries with her 24 hours a day and doesn’t cost her a penny. It’s the power of her breath.
Asleep at the wheel:
So many of us are mindlessly walking through most of our lives. And when it comes to meals and snacks, this results in eating more than our bodies need or want. Mindlessly overeating is like being on autopilot, or in a trance. We don’t taste what we are eating. We don’t notice when we are full. During these times, we are often paying attention to something else. A TV show, Facebook, email.
When using the power of your breath, the exact opposite will occur.
The power of breath:
Your breath puts you in your body. After a few intentional inhales and exhales, you can become aware of sensations in your chest , belly, fingers and ankles. Your breath allows you to notice your body.
Your breath grounds you. Instead of flitting around like a butterfly, you can be steady and still. You can sit down, stay and not seek out distraction.
Your breath makes you feel calm and peaceful. Your breath can melt away any frantic edge and allow you to experience what’s underneath. Calm. Peace. You have it in you, and your breath is the bridge to take you there.
Why breath works:
When you use the power of your breath, you create space between your thoughts and your actions.
In this space, you have an opportunity to be intentional about your choices. You have an opportunity to set the course of your actions instead of mindlessly going through the motions.
After a quick breathing practice, you feel more calm and centered in your body. When you are more calm and centered, it’s easier to make better choices in your life.
Using her breath, instead of stuffing herself, Kate could have eaten the exact right amount, given herself the break she needed and then moved off the couch and onto something else.
A 3 count breath and can be done very subtly anywhere. Breathe in to a count of 3, hold your breath full for a moment, breathe out to a count of 3, hold your breath out for a moment. Do 3-5 rounds of this breath.
Consider the power of your breath to be a miraculous gift. One that you have with you all of the time. Use it often throughout the day and you will wake up, make intentional choices, become a more mindful eater and shift the course of your life.