Body Time 6 – Conscious Eating
As is always the case, when we open ourselves to guidance it comes! Shortly after the meditation in which I was shown that I needed to deepen the awareness of my body two gifts were given to me that would begin to transform my relationship with food.
First, my daughter Carrie came home. While she is always a gift to me, this time she also provided lots of inspiration in the eating department. Throughout High School Carrie was always healthy, solid, strong and heavier than most of the girls but not unfit. However, when college hit she continued to gain weight and eventually grew to weigh even more than I did. Today, however, she is looking great! She has lost over 50lbs and 3 sizes. She has accomplished this over several years, eating exactly what she wants but watching her portion sizes and exercising. Throughout July, when we weren’t sailing, she often got me out biking. It was amazing to me to watch her eat pasta and ice cream without guilt. Over the years she has simply became excellent at stopping when her body is satisfied. Together we indulged and for the first time in my life and several more after that – I threw out over half my hot fudge Sunday because I WAS SATISIFIED!! WOW!
I also discovered an excellent book by Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God. It was one of those books – you know the kind that fall off the shelf. Geneen’s book reminded me of another book I had read a few years back by Karen Koening, The Rules of Normal Eating. Both books set forth similar guidelines for normal, healthy eating. Karen’s four rules of a normal eater are 1) Eat when you are hungry. 2) Choose food that satisfies you. 3) Stay connected to your body and eat with awareness and enjoyment. 4) Stop eating when you are satisfied. (Geneen has 7 rules that are basically the same, just broken down a little more.) What a relief – sounds simple – but it’s not! If you have been eating differently from this all your life, it requires real change. As Karen states in her book, change is not easy – especially change that is subconscious – like the way we eat. She even sets down the rules of change. Here is a paraphrase of her rules for change: ‘It is not easy, it is incremental, slow, creates discomfort, and is facilitated by specific personality traits. However if you put one foot in front the other you can’t help but get where you want to go.’
Thinking about the rules for normal eating and Carrie’s new ability to stop eating when she was satisfied, I asked her how she made the change. She told me that a lot of her change was facilitated by living alone. She began to realize that if she put something in the fridge it stayed there. She didn’t have to finish her plate because she could always have more a little later when she was hungry. She didn’t mention it but I also would guess that because she was eating by herself she became more aware of her body and its signal that she was satisfied.
Not having a major life style shift like my daughter, the books provided me with several insights that helped me become ‘aware’ of some of my unconscious habits. They also provide strategies for connecting to our body and becoming more ‘aware’ of its signals. Humm – there’s that late June meditation again. ‘Awareness.’
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