Posts tagged ‘mindful eating’
If you’re a reader of this blog or know me personally, you know that I don’t do the nasty “D” word anymore. Diet.
To celebrate my new iPhone 4, I went scouting for some new apps besides addictive games like Angry Birds and Bedazzled (both which have kept me occupied for countless hours).
Specifically, I was looking for a food journal app where I could log my meals because I notice I’ve been mindlessly eating, especially at night, but I was dismayed to find that every single app involved calorie tracking. Which I don’t do anymore.
I’ve done lots of online food journaling before, and I remember how one program would calculate how many calories I would have left in the day. If I went over, I got a big red angry face. If I went under, a big smiley face. Having my life ruled by emoticons was seriously troubling.
With a little more searching, I found this app: Mindful Eating available on the iTunes store. I’ve been using it for a few days and I really like it.
Instead of focusing on the calories and fat grams in your meals, this nifty app is more concerned with how you FELT before, during, and after your meal…hence, mindful eating. It allows you to take a pic of your food, write little notes to yourself, and rewards you for eating healthy foods, too.
Yes, the price tag is a bit steep ($5.99) for an app, but for someone who no longer is ruled by calories and instead wants a more zen experience with her food, this one’s for me!
Do you keep a food journal? Have you done any online programs?
As you know, I’ve started to tackle cutting out sugar, which hasn’t been as difficult as I feared. I haven’t had dessert or sweets in about three weeks now, and I’ve never felt better. Truly. I don’t even MISS chocolate, which is utterly mind-boggling to me. While I know how cliché the saying “If I can do it, so can you” is, nevertheless it’s true. I never thought I could go without chocolate for even a few days, let alone 3 whole weeks.
However, I find that I’ve been relying on “quickie-carbs,” or refined carbs that you might not think of as sugar. Refined carbs are carbohydrates that cause a rapid, high spike in your blood sugar, giving you a high at first and ending with a crash. Examples are white bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, crackers, and basically anything “white” and not a whole grain. So, while I’ve been disciplined in nixing the chocolate and sweets (and I don’t really eat much of the other stuff) I HAVE been eating crackers. And lots of them. If you’ve ever had a Mary’s Gone cracker, you’ll understand why I’ve been addicted. They’re incredible, super crunchy, and healthy as far as crackers go, but only in limited amounts (you can find them at many supermarkets and health food stores) I’ve realized that it’s gotten a bit out of hand, and I’ve replaced one addiction with another (sweets for crackers), so I’m working this week to cut down on my cracker and dip intake.
That’s one issue. But, on top of the crackers, I’ve got another problem. I’ve noticed in the past month that I’m eating standing up in my kitchen quite often. I’ll pop a few blueberries into my mouth while preparing my oats for breakfast. Or, I’ll get home from work/gym/school and go straight to the pantry, whip out my Mary’s crackers, and stand in front of the refrigerator and eat them with humus. Or, I’ll taste and taste and taste while I’m cooking and by the time I’m through, I’m no longer hungry for dinner, yet I end up eating dinner anyway (However, I do come from a long line of “noshers,” so I’m fighting genetics on this one.)
Do you find yourself eating standing up? You might not realize you’re doing it, as it’s a mindless activity. We can get ourselves into trouble because usually while we’re standing we’re doing something else, like talking on the phone, watching TV, or about to rush out the door. In my case I’ve been feeling very rushed and a bit overwhelmed in my life with so much on my “plate” that standing up has just become easier. Sometimes when I come home from school, I’m so hungry that I can’t even wait to make a plate of food…I just head straight for the refrigerator and eat basking in the glow of the fridge. Which, of course, leads me to eat way more than I needed or even wanted.
When we don’t eat at a table, we’re not mindful as to what we’re putting in our mouths. In fact, if we’re doing ANYTHING while we eat, such as watching TV, we’re not paying attention to what we’re eating, probably leading us to eat much more (we’re creating a disconnect between our brain and our mouth) It’s also been said (as my wise mother likes to remind me) that when you stand up to eat, your brain doesn’t register the calories or that you’re actually ingesting food so you don’t feel full and you eat more. Whatever the reason, the end result is usually the same: eating more than you had planned.
So, you ask, what am I doing to combat my eating-while-standing plight? For one, I’m trying to slow down. This morning, for instance, I was cutting my banana in the kitchen and I had to STOP myself mid bite to recognize that I had just snuck that bite. It’s such a subtle gesture that my brain barely has the time to register what I’m doing. So that’s where the slowing down and being mindful comes in.
I’m also making sure that I ONLY eat at my dining table. It’s now a rule. If I’m not sitting down at the table, I can’t eat. Mealtime should be an act of enjoyment and gratitude, a kind of meditation and concentration, and you just can’t do that while you’re talking on the phone, reading a magazine, and eating food all at the same time. How can you truly taste your food if you’re not paying attention?
And lastly, I’ve started keeping a good ol’ fashioned food journal where I’m writing down everything I eat. Every bite, even if it’s just a taste of something. A journal is a wonderful weight loss tool (I owe my 25 pound weight loss in college to my food journal). You’ll be surprised at all the extra food you eat during the day. I’ve realized that I’d been eating about 2-3 servings of crackers with 3-4 servings of hummus (at 60 calories per serving) and that REALLY begins to add up. So, I challenge you to try keeping a food journal for a week and see what pops up for you.