I’m certain I’m not the only person who struggles with their weight. It feels like a constant battle to even stay the same these days. It’s often hard just trying to refrain from opening the fridge door and looking for something that will make me feel more contented. I like my food. I’m quite greedy actually. I admit it! Never quite satisfied with one sandwich, it’s often 2 or 3…and being partial to a glass of wine, well I’m just asking for trouble really! And with Christmas looming it is almost a cert that I will put some weight on. You know what it’s like…the festive mince pies, the booze, the chocolate, the Christmas dinner, nuts…well I think I could go on for a long time here.
I wasn’t always overweight, I used to be very slim and even struggled with anorexia when I was a teen. My parents would force me to eat, and this pattern of starving myself became a way of life off and on throughout my teens and twenties. I was petrified of becoming ‘fat’ and worried that people wouldn’t like me if I were. I guess it didn’t stop until I became ill really! I’d go from binge eating and starving myself, and exercising like crazy trying to create the body that would make me happy. Needless to say, this way of life never made me happy. I’ve always had ‘body issues’, but who hasn’t, right? Everyone seems to be striving for perfection, and with the likes of what’s being shovelled down our necks by the media each day, it’s hardly surprising. If it’s not some ripped hunk on TV, then it’s some skinny chic in Vogue. The pressure to look beautiful and perfect is just immense.
I started to put on weight at aged 30 when I started to recover from OCD. I went from being housebound unless accompanied by my family, to slowly regaining some independence (it was a rough and tough journey though) and what helped me to do this was taking antidepressants (fluoxitine, or ‘Prozac’). Before medication I was always the guy the girls envied for being so slim. They always said they wished they had my figure haha! All the while, I thought I was fat, or chubby…not what I should be! Now I look back and think, I wish I was as fat now as I used to think I was back then! But hey, life’s a journey and I will be slim again!
Anyway on with the blog topic – mindful eating.
You see I trained in mindfulness based cognitive therapy a couple of years ago and one of the first mindfulness activities I experienced was mindful eating! You must of heard of this exercise yourself – the raisin exercise? Well if you haven’t it is an interesting activity.
Just imagine that you’re a brand new living being on this planet and it’s the very first time you have seen a raisin. What would you do? In the raisin exercise you use your senses. You start by simply observing the raisin. What does it look like? Pretty ugly in my opinion. They’re wrinkly, brown or black, or golden actually. What do they feel like? Do they feel squashy, or soft? Can you feel the ridges in the wrinkles? Do they have a smell? Well I think they do…it’s almost toffee like. Do they leave a smell on your fingers? Do they have a sound? Place the raisin next to your ear. Squeeze it – it squeaks!!! Wow I never knew that before I tried that! Raisins actually have a sound! Finally what does the raisin taste like? Put it onto your tongue. Hold it there for a few seconds. What can you taste? Chocolatey notes, toffee…sugary sweet….bourbon perhaps? It’s amazing just how much you can experience in one simple mindful activity. Try it. You might like it!
Now the point of this blog was to discuss losing weight through mindful eating. And this is something that I am going to try more myself. I have to admit, there are times when I don’t always practice what I preach – especially where food and diet is concerned! But I am going to try to integrate mindful eating into my daily routine. I want to see if eating mindfully helps to lose weight. I hypothesise that I will lose weight through mindful eating, simply because the slower you eat, the quicker you are to feel full (I am very much a gannet).
I guess this post is introducing an experiment that I am going to conduct on myself, and I guess I need to provide a timescale to how long I am going to do this for? Well I think with Christmas around the corner, and my fear of putting more weight on, I think I should eat mindfully until Christmas. That will give me 6 weeks to see if there is any improvement to my weight and my waistline, and also just how much food I think I need to be satiated!
Now that I have committed to a task I hope you will stay tuned for when I post the results of my experiment 🙂
If you enjoyed reading this then check out some of my other blog posts on mindfulness here.
Until next time!