Walking the Path of the Mindful Eater

I’ve been teaching the Eat for Life class for about three years now and have heard many stories of how people proceed along the path of becoming mindful, intuitive eaters.  At the end of the ten week class, people will be at various places.  Many people are able to do things like give up dieting, stop binging, not weigh themselves religiously, not eat to fix emotions, and eat mainly when they are physically hungry.  Others might find themselves in the position of giving up their dieting rules but not yet finding a way to stop the overeating and binging that sometimes results.  This initially may be associated with a weight gain, as opposed to a weight loss which can be upsetting at times.  This is part of the process of coming back into balance with your food and your body.  It is not a comfortable place to be, but it is natural.  The only way through this difficult place in the path is through it. You can’t take a detour and you can’t take a different path. You will have to feel the feelings of despair and lack of control, but these will pass as you continue to take one step at a time and eventually see the overeating begin to subside. After the delight of being able to eat whatever you want passes, you begin to experience satisfaction with smaller amounts of the food and you may discover you don’t even want the foods you thought you couldn’t live without.

I was pretty surprised a couple of years ago when I put a peppermint in my mouth and had to throw it out about halfway through. I had never thrown out a peppermint because of the taste. But this time the sugar was just too much for my taste buds. I was pretty amazed that I had developed that much sensitivity. You see, I have always had a sweet tooth and have historically eaten a lot of desserts. This holiday season, however, I found myself biting into a sugary cookie that I had to spit out. The burst of white sugar in my mouth was overwhelming and was not pleasant at all. The same thing happened with some candy I was given.

As my sensitivity to food and to what my body wants has increased, I have been pretty amazed (and even dismayed) at the fact that I don’t like to eat as much chocolate as I used to. I still eat chocolate almost every day. Let me make that point perfectly clear. However, it is usually a couple of Dove dark chocolates–I love dark chocolate and I also love the sayings inside the wrapper!  However, I stopped by the office I used to work at yesterday and an old friend happened to have some of the most wonderful chocolates I’ve ever tasted made by a company out of San Francisco that I was familiar with. My eyes lit up when he offered me a piece of these delectable treasures. I savored every bite! Now whether your savory bites are from San Francisco or whether they are made by Hostess, be sure and savor every bite and if you don’t like it, spit it out! Or, if you are in polite company, finish the bite and then put the food down or throw it away.

This sensitivity to food as you begin to pay more and more attention to its effects on your taste buds and your body happens over time. At the end of a ten week class, you are just at the beginning of discovering the body’s wisdom.  Don’t give up on the journey.

For more ideas about holiday eating, read Evelyn Tribole’s Intuitive Eater’s Bill of Rights on the Intuitive Eating website athttp://www.intuitiveeating.org/content/intuitive-eaters-holiday-bill-rights