Mindfulness: often a missing piece of the puzzle. We are thrilled to have a Prescribe Nutrition super member Scott with us today to wrap up our campaign on food-body-mind. Scott reminds us how mindfulness plays a huge role in our health. Scott, we’re ready for you to sprinkle some of that mindfulness on us, so without further ado…
Eating and mindfulness don’t go hand in hand. It hasn’t been engrained in our DNA. We live in a time and culture that doesn’t focus on mindfulness. Instead, we want food fast and we want it cheap. It seems like the fads and research as to what is good for our bodies are changing daily. It can be so hard to know if what you’re doing to your diet is actually beneficial – or is science going to tell us in two weeks that today’s superfood is tomorrow’s carcinogen? Who can keep up with all this craziness?!
Another component is that we have some very strong psychological and emotional ties to food. We turn to it when we are happy and we turn to it when we are sad. It is the center of social gatherings like barbecues and family dinners. Then there’s ice cream and chocolate to comfort us after a dreaded break up. Bored? Grab a bag of pretzels. Watching a movie? Let’s shovel the popcorn down the gullet! Poor eating is deeply entrenched in out society.
Food literally affects our brain chemistry. Many of the sugary, doughy foods have similar effects to our brains as drugs, even to the extent of us becoming addicted to some foods. We all know that feeling of craving fats or those DELICIOUS breads. Those are our dietary addictions – turns out they’re not good for our brains or our bodies.
For example, french fries and potato chips. When you chow down on those are you doing it meaningfully and with consciousness? Heck no! We shove those things in our face as quick as we can between gulps of soda goodness! What else do you eat like this? Are you *there* when you’re eating? Or are you thinking about what you need to do at work, at home, with your friends or a million other things.
Next time you eat try being there. Reign those thoughts and that wondering mind in and bring consciousness the process of eating. Eat with purpose and intention. Breathe. When you are compelled to just eat and eat and eat, shoveling those french fries in, or scoops of ice cream, take a step back. Check in – how is this food affecting your body? Does your body feel good from this food? Does this food make you feel light and clean or heavy and lethargic? Is this a type of food that you really want to be eating? Your body will be sending you a lot more signals than you think once you start listening.
Old habits are very hard to break. I know when I took my first Prescribe 20 and was learning how to eat whole, clean foods, my body would crave the foods I had built bad habits around. Breads, sugars, ice cream, chips, burritos, and ohhh the pizza! But focus on what it is you really want. Remind yourself that these changes will be worth it. You will feel better. You will live better overall. You will have fewer health problems. You will look better. You may have to even create a funny mantra for yourself for when you’re really craving those bad foods. I would repeat to myself “This is all going to be worth it, this is all going to be worth it!” And guess what? It was worth it! I am worth it. You are worth it! Take care of you by giving your body real food with the nutrition you need.
Going back to bad habits, let’s not completely ignore those right now. Check in with yourself on why you were eating poorly. In some way, these bad eating habits were serving you. Were you using them to bottle your emotions? To hide something? What are the top ten things blocking your progress? How can you change those? Make a list of realistic action steps you can take and alternative, healthier ways of dealing with the triggers. Be kind to yourself and practice self care. Practice creative visualization — see yourself as you ideally want to be, eating healthfully, at an ideal weight, glowing with goodness.
Associate with people who have similar goals. Hang out with people from the gym and join Facebook groups where people have similar ideas and interests. These people will also help to give you ideas, support, and even some recipes.
Take care of you. Practice wholesome, healthful things like meditation, yoga, and get massages. Be patient with yourself. For many of us, these are some big changes and deeply entrenched bad habits. They’re not going to go away over night. Keep fighting! Meditation increases focus, attention, happiness, while reducing anxiety and stress. However, maybe you are one of those people who just *can’t* sit still and meditate. That’s okay! Sitting, silent meditation isn’t for everyone. Try an active meditation like qi gong, tai chi, yoga, and/or mindful walking.
This journey is about you. It’s going to take some effort in the beginning while you’re building new habits, but once your practice this consistent, you’ll find that all this healthy eating isn’t so hard and that not only is it worth it, you are worth it.
Scott is a native Idahoan and has a Master’s degree in Asian Comparative Studies with an emphasis in Buddhism. He is a spiritual teacher and consultant who focuses on practical spirituality, applied Buddhism, meditation, and Advaita Vedanta. Scott passionately studies religions of various cultures and loves showing that spirituality and philosophy can be incorporated in practical ways to deepen our existential human experiences. Scott has been a practitioner of meditation, yoga, and Buddhism for over 20 years and has studied with various Western and Tibetan teachers. His website can be found at www.scottgoolsby.com and www.facebook.com/dharmainbliss