Enjoyment over rules, even mindful eating rules.
It’s so easy getting caught up in new habits we’d like to introduce and follow in our lives. It can start out as something really fun, but quickly turn into an activity we dread, or get little enjoyment out of, because we’ve created all of these rules and boundaries around it.
A couple of years ago I can remember explaining my new morning to a friend, it was long and intricate and took up a lot of time. She looked at me, tilted her head to the side, and said “that doesn’t sound like very much fun”, I realised that it really didn’t and in all honesty it had lost it’s fun side for me too. (Below is a photo of Arthur Cat thoroughly enjoying life and most certainly not following all of the rules.)
Intuitive eating involves tapping into what your body wants to eat, pausing a few times throughout eating to ask yourself if you’re full, and when you finish, to take a moment to ask if you’d like something else. Eating mindfully is all about enjoying your food, tasting the flavours, noticing the texture, how it makes you feel and how fulfilling it is. We’re often told that in order to eat mindfully, we need to pop all distractions to one side. I recommend this too and follow my own recommendation quite often, but not always.
When I don’t feel like I’ll enjoy sitting down in silence to eat my meal with nobody to speak to, I’ll pop a podcast on in the background. If I’m watching a movie and I fancy a snack, I don’t stop watching the movie, I pop and get a snack and sit down to slowly, really enjoy it as I watch the film.
If I’m really in the groove with writing or studying but I know I need to have lunch, sometimes I’ll eat it at my laptop. The world doesn’t end. I don’t fall back into old habits.
So what’s the difference? Well, it all comes down to intention. I’m not eating mindlessly, I’m still mindfully enjoying my food but i’m also not restricting myself to exact rules I have to follow. For me they are guidelines which I adhere to the majority of the time.
If it stresses you out or doesn’t make you feel good. Don’t do it.
Enjoyment and happiness comes above and beyond anything else.