So often I notice that my clients are super excited to start a new process like learning how to slow down while they are eating and within a few days they notice how hard it is for them to actually be consistent and enjoy the work of slowing down. They become resistant to it and actually end of noticing how much faster they are eating. I always remind them that this is not a problem. It is normal for us to get super excited about the shiny new object and then look up and notice that there are more comfortable old toys sitting in our toy box just waiting to be revisited. But those old toys are broken and they never worked right to begin with but we keep them around, just in case this new one feels too foreign and we are scared it might break so we put it away before we've fully embrace just how much fun the new toy is.
I like this picture for this blog post. I feel like I'm at the circus of my mind. All the old diet tricks, tips and fads are standing in the crowded circus tent, shouting at me about why they worked, even though they didn't.
Learning how to slow down and be present takes a heck of a lot of brain work. We love to be checked out and distracted. That is why when I ask my clients to really pay attention to how fast they are eating and to really get in touch with their own thinking and feeling, they try it for a day or two and then have a little bit of a freak out!!! The old diet rules will surely convince you that you "need to diet" in order to really lose weight.
I'm going to offer you a new old solution. Yep it's very new to discover that our body was designed to pay attention to what we are doing when we eat.
Watching my 11 month old granddaughter eat is a riot. She's so present with herself that she spends the majority of her mealtime smiling. She's really into this whole, yum yum, food on face and some of it even ends up making it into her mouth. She spits out what she doesn't like. She pushes the food away when she's had enough. But how? How does she know what is good for her, what is nourishing, what is the best for her growing body? She doesn't. But she trusts herself and her stomach enough to make decisions at every meal. And she trusts her parents and her Gemma to put a variety of things on her plate to try.
Somewhere along the way, I'd say about the time a parent buys into all of the diet food rules and becomes overly worried about little baby developing a weight issue (I'm sorry, but it's true. We buy into the toxic diet culture and think that it's a healthy thing to share with our children) that we start to restrict, we start to share our fear about food and our health and our body with others. Be it our children or our besties, we share what diet we are on and how it is going to "save us". Did we ever consider that God created our body with the ability to discover what is good? What is needed? Have we learned to listen to our stomach when it's trying to tell us......hey, we love beans and beans are a fruit the more you eat the more you...... O.k. I know I'm being a little silly but I really want to let you know a few things. We were never meant to eat standing at the garbage can while working on that report for work while we are trying to do one handed push ups.
SLOW DOWN! I love a good meal out with friends. I love it even more when we tell our waiter that we need more time to decide what to eat because we are having so much fun connecting that we haven't even looked at our menu's yet.
My husband and I love to take 3 to 4 hours to have a meal. We have gone into restaurants and asked them if we can make it an event. (don't worry, we tip really well so they don't seem to mind). Try it. Spend some time getting to know yourself again. Crack some jokes. Talk to your food, tell it how pretty it is. Talk to your body. Ask it to share with you the more personal things that it's been trying to tell you, like how it really doesn't like that goat cheese you keep trying to force it to make friends with. How's that feel in your mouth? How does it feel going down your throat? Really pay some attention. Pause, let it have a turn to talk. Think this is crazy? You're wrong. Life lived being fully present is a blessed life. Learning to have a relationship with yourself and your body is a wonderful way to spend your days.
Don't have 3-4 hours? Neither do I, unless it is intentional with someone I love. And I've learned that going from eating in 5 minutes to 15 minutes being present helps me to digest better. And some times I go from 15 minutes to 45 minutes when I allow myself the space to step away from my office and go outside on the back porch to enjoy my lunch.
I don't gain weight overeating donuts any more because I actually spend enough time really being present with a donut once in a while. Guess what? Sometimes I don't like donuts, specially when I slow down and really smell and taste them. Sometimes what I really want are some eggs and some avocado. How did I know? Did some diet tell me what I really wanted this morning? NO! My body did. It gave me lots of really great cues. I lifted weights and was craving some protein big time. It wasn't a rule, it was communication I gave myself enough time to listen to.
Look, when we do anything new after a while it will feel really hard, because it's new. Because it is different from what we've been doing on auto pilot. It will take some time to learn the new thing. It will be worth it when we let go of it as a rule and invite it to be a part of our existence. I don't know about you, but when I'm out to eat with someone and they don't take the time to look up at me or talk, I'm really not going to be willing to spend much time with them again any time soon. And that is how we treat the work of changing our eating habits. If we spend the meal cursing the slow down process, we won't want to keep it around. But if we see change as an opportunity for connection, it starts to feel like sitting with your bestie and laughing at every funny thing they have to say. We will smile during our mealtime being so glad that we connected, that we offered ourselves an opportunity to relax and enjoy ourselves and our bodies in a whole new way.
Let me know what you think of slowing down? Tell me about that incredible meal you had with your friends or family that left you feeling satisfied and loved.
Girl, You've Got This!
DammGirl Coaching LLC