Okay, I’ll admit it…I’d like to lose a lousy 5 pounds. No more, no less. Honestly, that’s it. I know better than to be fixated on the numbers on my scale. I’m a personal trainer and health coach. And I’m always telling my clients how those scale numbers are not nearly as important as their body composition (% of fat and muscle) numbers. I say these things so often they are now cliché training-speak. I am not proud to admit these things, I am no different, no better than any one else I train. I have a love/hate relationship with numbers; they attack my logical brain and leave no room for reason.
Imagine my surprise on the day I contemplated my 5-pound conundrum, when a thought occurred to me: How can I help my clients to eat mindfully when I don’t always manage my own mindless eating? I only want to lose 5 pounds, I don’t need to lose 5 pounds, I just want to. And I have a hunch (okay, I KNOW) these last 5 pounds are not going to budge unless I make some changes in my way of eating. Why? Because I have a cheat. I have caloric wiggle room because I exercise a lot…every day…it’s my job and I love it. But it does not exempt me from the law of calories in = calories out.
I don’t know why I had this thought the other day, but that’s the nature of thoughts after all. Thoughts are like feathers blowing in the breeze, floating here and there waiting for us to give them a place to loft so as to entertain our attention. Once we attend to a thought, it may grow upon us and in us.
Now some thoughts are more entertaining than others. And depending on our current state of mind, we may or may attend to any given thought. But one thing is true, certain thoughts are better left for dead. Unattended if you will. Intuitively we know which thoughts make us feel happy or sad or encouraged or angry or defeated or motivated or lazy. So maybe this is why I gave that thought some attention the other day; because it made me think.
What we say and do is based on what we have already built into our minds.
Dr. Caroline Leaf
Actually the thought made me question…myself. And the question it asked was this: What is your intention regarding the food in your hand or on your plate? Are you feeding yourself in response to bodily hunger or emotional hunger? What would your diet look like if you only ate with an intention to nourish your physical body rather than your emotional body?
Okay, so that was 3 questions. But the initial thought surprised and intrigued. Have I really been so un-intentional, so question-less in my eating? Yes, more often than I would care to admit. Yet here’s the irony of my thinking and believing: I say (I believe) my goal is to train my body for health and physical performance, and yet I eat food which I know will make my body (head and/or stomach) hurt. Really? Really!
Should I expect to reach my fitness goals when I eat without intention? If I eat because it’s a reflex and not an answer to a question, then I may not be nourishing my body after all but rather my emotions. So tell me something I don’t know…duh! And this double mindedness intrigues me…
Now that you have more information about me than you needed, bare with me one moment longer. Because I’m just going to put one little question on the table, before you and before me. For the next few weeks (until the end of September), before I put food in my mouth, every time, I will ask myself a question: Is this food you are about to eat for your body or for your emotion? Then I’ll wait for the answer. And if the answer is the one which will help me towards my goal…I will eat…and if it is not…???
So here’s to a half month of research. I’d love to have you join my little research project…if you feel so inclined. I’ll report the results in a post around the first week of October. Here’s to our thoughtful eating…cheers.