I always have been a very enthusiastic eater -- not one who needs to be coaxed to eat more. My challenge has been on the other side of the continuum -- when to stop eating. Each meal is an opportunity to watch my process around stopping eating. Here are a few of the things I've noticed along the way.
- Conditioned mind talks through my whole meal. Sometimes it says nice, complimentary stuff, sometimes not, but it yammers away all the time like a blaring TV in the background. If I'm giving it my attention, I eat more than the body wants or needs. Sometimes way more.
- When attention is on the food, the senses, or the sensations in the stomach, meals are much more interesting and fun. The eyes, nose, taste buds, and even occasionally the ears are engaged in a sensory-carnival that is just delightful, no matter what is being eaten.
- There is a certain feeling that I've identified when the stomach is perfectly satisfied -- when I've eaten the amount of food that is perfectly appropriate for that meal. It's taken me a while to get it that that feeling is duplicable, but it's always there as a guide. I just need to be present to feel it, and to eat slowly enough that I don't run right by it.
- Conditioned mind starts talking about getting more of something the minute I start eating it. If "I like it" and I'm attending to ego, I can eat a ton of a certain food, never really savorking it because I'm in a conversation about getting more.
- If I stack my dishes and hold my drink in my hands when I feel the satisfied feeling, I'm much less likely to succumb to ego's urgings for more food. Just a little trick I've picked up ...
It has been a real hoot watching ego's shenanigans and a real joy being with the body at mealtime. I encourage everyone to have your own mindful eating workshop!
Here is a recipe that induces that sensory-carnival I was talking about! This recipe (modified slightly) came to us from Jennifer Segal's blog, Once Upon a Chef.
Carrot and Mint Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
2 lbs. grated carrots
½ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup currants
2 tsps. lemon zest, from one lemon
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
6 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. honey
½ teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, honey and fresh lemon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.