Have you ever been overwhelmed even with how to get started with mindful eating? Been afraid to trust yourself to take the steps to stop feeding emotions? Perhaps not even known the steps? No matter where you are in the weight loss journey — losing, maintaining, trying to regain momentum — or what diet you might be following, you may find a recent blog post by Mark Hyman, M.D. of some guidance when stress seems overwhelming. He is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, most recently, The Blood Sugar Solution as well as a frequent blogger. I often refer to his works as I find he is one who has vast clinical experience and is quite attuned to what it is like in the real world of dieting and rescuing our health. Not to mention how much we are daily assaulted with too much information that is helping the diet gurus’ profit margins and leaving us where we started.
Recently he took on the subject of stress as that element that sometimes puts up a barrier between our present selves and our goals. Somewhere we know something about mindful eating — and we may have much too much exeprience with mindless eating!
Dr. Hyman has plenty to say about stopping the negative pattern of eating while stressed or, worse eating because of stress. What to do to take charge? Here’s just a sampler.
“The next time you eat, ask yourself if you are about to eat under stress. Note how you feel by checking in with your breath- is it shallow or deep? Get in touch with your heart rate and see if you can find a way to use your breath to slow it down and relax your pulse.
Is your mind racing and do you have stressful thoughts running it? Are you excited about your food or are you feeling guilty or concerned about what is in front of you? Do you feel calm or restless?
All of these questions are the beginning of embarking on an understanding of how you relate to food. The funny thing is, how we each relate to food tells us a lot about how we approach life and what we want out of it. The next time you catch yourself eating under stress, follow these guidelines:
Start each meal with 3 deep belly breaths. For a thorough explanation on how to calm your mind and relax your body please check out my article on meditation.
Observe your thoughts about yourself and the food you are about to eat. Remember, judging your food as good or bad essentially begs the idea that you too are either good or bad. While a diet based on whole, fresh, real, organic, local and seasonal foods is best, there will be times when you will want a treat, a “recreational food” or you will be offered a food you may think of as “bad.” Imagine the difference in digestion you would experience if the next time you ate your favorite food or any food under a relaxed state where you savored each bite and didn’t have to rush through it out of guilt, worry, or self doubt about willpower! I’d rather see you eat all food under the optimal state of digestion and absorption so that you best metabolize and utilize your nutrients.”
Do check out the remainder of the article at drhyman.com where he continues laying out the strategy. Does it work? I found it helpful when I was overcome with anxiety recently. Taking those deep breathes was just the beginning of getting some relief. There are plenty of resources at the site as well as at his Facebook fan page where he and his staff interact with readers and offer help and solutions.
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