My Experiment with Mindful Eating…

For the last month, I ditched every diet — weight watchers, 21 day fix, calorie counting — and subscribed to a mindful eating (intuitive eating) mentality.

This meant that all foods were good foods, I could eat anything I wanted as long as I did so with intuition — listening to my body. 
 When I was hungry, I was to honor my hunger and eat what would be fulfilling.  When I was full, I was to stop before I became uncomfortably full.  

A great analogy for this “comfortably full” zone is a balloon — when it’s empty, it’s like when you’re hungry,  when it’s completely full & about to burst, it’s when you’re uncomfortably full, but when you let out some hair so it’s not stretched way out but still inflated — that’s the target “comfortably full” zone.

During this time I was also in between serious training plans — I had completed my half marathon and hadn’t started into full blow  marathon training yet. 

I was also burned out. 
The nonstop blur of  tracking and tracking and planning and planning and ignoring my body’s signals to push myself — really started to grind my gears and it inevitable got to me. 

Ignoring my body’s signals is helpful when my legs are screaming for me to stop, but I know I can keep going.  This habit isn’t nearly as helpful when trying to manage weight while providing adequate nutrition.

Investigating the mindful eating concept lead me down a rabbit hole of sorts.  I stumbled across articles on intuitive eating, recognizing body cravings as nutritional needs, and how the diet mentality is actually harming our health.  Here’s a short list of important take aways I’ve collected from the last month:

  • Diet Mentality assigns some foods as “bad” and others “good” but food is food, don’t give it that power over yourself
  • Honor your hunger — ignoring it is equivalent to ignoring your urge to use the restroom!
  • Honor your fullness — feeding your hunger until you feel full is like the “ahhh” feeling you get on a road trip when you’ve needed a rest-stop, but you’ve been holding it for miles, and you finally get to go… such relief!!
  • Respect your fullness — fullness, not overly stuffed-ness… Over filling, using this whole potty mentality, would be like trying to force yourself to go after you’ve already went! 
  • Respect your body — I’m worthy of a healthy body!!  I also want to show it respect by honoring it with appropriate choices and comfort.
  • Get out of your head!!  Constant dieting made me obsessed with food.  Constantly measuring, counting, and planning.  This doesn’t make it easy to balance my life or and it gives food too much power over your life!  One thing I started doing recently was a full body check in. During runs when I want to quit, I check in from feet to head and all parts in between.  When I’m hungry I check in with my whole body in a similar way to ensure I’m feeling actual hunger and not boredom, anxiety, or sadness. 
  • Diagnose your cravings!  Are you craving a cheeseburger because it sounds fulfilling or because you just watched a bunch of commercials for Burger King?  Are you craving salty food or are you just stressed out? Are you actually starving for that vending machine snack or are you just really thirsty and tired and stressed?

All of these takeaways really make me change my mindset with Kim to what I’m eating. I really had a chance to reflect on why people eat and what nutrition is and what is fulfilling for me.  What I’ve whittled down all of this to is one single big idea: my eating patterns should love me towards no my goals, not away from them. 

In an oversimplification, everything I eat everything I do and everything I think she’s moving towards my goals  not away from them.  

If I’m eating something that’s making me feel lousy and making me gain weight — then I’m not gonna be able to run my best and get in the best shape of my life like I want.  This realization inspires me to make better choices. 
Similarly, if I’m in a negative headspace, then that’s going to sabotage my abilities!  I’m gonna convince myself I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not fit enough, not pretty enough… thinking is believing and these negative thoughts are moving me further away from my goals. 
As a goal oriented person, I like the idea of changing my mentality!!  Instead of going through life thinking I’m all about dieting and working out, I’m going to think of it as making positive steps towards my goals!
How do you change your outlook?

 What aspects of your mental game hold you back? 

What research did you do to make sure that your nutrition and fitness are on point?

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