“trust your body
it reacts to right and wrong
better than your mind does”
it is speaking to you – rupi kaur
Last year, with all the change in my life, I gained 10 kilos. I was (am) very happy and usually my happiness is measured in food. And my sadness, anxiety, joy or boredom too, to be honest.
Food is that one thing I cannot resist. I adore to eat. I plan my days around food. While we are eating lunch my father always asks my mother “ what are we having for dinner?”. 41 years later that’s me.
After new year ( and the need of a new wardrobe) I felt it in myself I needed to understand my behaviour with food.
If I was feeling good why was I binge eating all the time? What was I trying to avoid? I am still working on the answers. Working on listening to my body.
The poem of Rupi Kaur sums it all up perfectly. I didn’t recognize my body’s personal hunger signals. I ate on an emotional need and not on my what my body needeed.
I was listening first to my mind, but I discover more wisdom by tuning into my body first. And it was (still is) hard.
What I am going to share are some practical guidelines that are helping me in this quest of discerning between mindless and mindful eating, and bringing my body and mind back together.
Slowing down: I was not aware of how fast I ate. When I finished my plate, my boyfriend was still eating his, and I continued eating whatever was on the table.
I started by setting my fork down between each bite and to take time to chew each mouthful. This was the major first impact: I took longer to eat which made me eat less quantity and in the end of the meal I felt the need of eating more (I always associeted being full with not being ungry), but after 20 minutes I was light and feeling good and with more energy.
Something was happening.
I knew that the body actually sends its satisfation signal about 20 minutes after the brain, which is why we often unconsciously overeat. Now I was actually feeling this and noticing it.
Knowing my body’s personal hunger signals: I couldn’t distinguish being hungry from having the need of eating.
I actually had to be hungry. I did one week of intermitent fasting and I had to feel and understand what were my body signals of hunger: my stomach was growling and I felt lightheaded.
Too often, we eat when our mind tells us to, rather than our bodies. True mindful eating is actually listening deeply to our body’s signals for hunger.
Developing healthy eating environments: I never eat with my Phone near me and I try not to have distractions, like tv.
We set the table and sit at every meal and we share not only the meal but a connection, we enjoy the food and a conversation.
I also try to plan every meal ahead and to have time to cook.
We go to markets to buy directly from the producer and that way we connect more deeply to the natural world, and to our comunity.
Eating and cooking are acts of love. When we pause to consider all of the people involved in the meal that has arrived on your plate, from the loved ones (and yourself) who prepared it, to those who stocked the shelves, to those who planted and harvested the raw ingredients, to those who supported them, it is hard to not feel both grateful and interconnected.
Eating is an act of love on ourselves. I can finally understand that. It took a lot of meditation and compassion, acceptance and selfcare. But it mostly takes trusting yourself and following your insticts.
Take good care of you.