Tag Archives: books

Eating the Moment, Ex. 1

Once again I am following along with the exercises in Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time by Pavel Somov, Ph.D..  I tried to do these previously, but chickened out after doing a few of the practices.  I saw some of the things that were further in the book and anticipated discomfort and fear.  Michelle, who sometimes plays my Jiminy Cricket, would of course point out that it means i should do them, but i put the book on the shelf instead.

No, really, i'm eating beets for breakfast these days.

No, really, i’m eating beets for breakfast these days.

Since i’m trying to develop a healthy relationship with food, i felt like this was a good time to come back to it.

The first section is in relation to triggers, the things that tell your mind or body to eat or what to eat.  For example, you might drive by a billboard for Dunkin Donuts and suddenly desire coffee (a particular challenge of mine!).  Triggers can be timing, sights, smells, places, emotions, experiences or just about anything else.

The first practice in the book is to ask, after you eat, “Why did I just eat?”.   He doesn’t suggest modifying anything, just simply notice why you ate.  Since I’m currently trying to be healthier and modifying some habits, the results of this exercise show some bias.  Had i done this a few weeks ago there would be a lot more reasons like boredom, sadness, loneliness, craving, habit and unknown.  I allowed myself to have multiple reasons for each time i ate, although he suggest finding the primary reason.

Out of 31 “eating incidents” (meals and snacks), almost 75% of the time hunger was a factor.  That’s a great sign for me, indicating i’m not overeating as much as i have in the past.  An additional 6% included feeling thirsty, which makes sense, as they were at breakfast when i’ve been having fruit & veggie smoothies.

5 out of 7 breakfasts also included the word “fuel”, which was a feeling of needing energy, but not really feeling hunger.  I suspect this is because i have been working out in the mornings before breakfast, which often reduces my appetite for an hour or so.

Almost half of the times i ate were at least in part triggered by time.  I’ve always known routine and habit drive me, but didn’t consider how it effected my eating habits.  Since many of those times i was also at least beginning to feel hungry, I’m guessing my portions are about right for my schedule.  Lunches and snacks at work also sometimes were at least partially due to wanting a distraction or entertainment.  My week day lunches are an excuse to stop report writing or calculations and read or write for pleasure.  I should be careful not to just assume noon means break for lunch, but to make sure i listen to my body.

There were cravings, mostly for sweet, which isn’t shocking for me.  Some of those corresponded with emotional needs, and others with aiming to meet my calorie quota for the day.  I’ve said before, I don’t think cravings are all bad, so long as they are managed and accounted for.

Other reasons I ate?  Knowing food wouldn’t be available later when i would be very hungry, wanting to try something new when it was offered, being tempted by the scent of fresh bread, feeling cold and tired, and being at an event where eating was expected (although i timed my other meals so i would be hungry at the appropriate time).  There were also two incidents were  was disappointed with earlier meals (both flavor and portion size) where i didn’t make great choices later on.  That’s definitely something I’ll need to work on managing in the future.

I’m currently working on Practice 2, which is similar, but asking before you eat “Why am I about to eat?”, then choosing to eat or not.  As i’m currently having a little trouble remembering to write things down before I eat, I may go a little longer than a week on this, but we’ll see what i discover!

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“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”
– Bertrand Russell

Every week day i get a nice little email as part of The Happiness Project.  Today’s was particularly on-point.

I’ve been craving peanut butter of all things.  I think it’s the salty-sweet flavor, and that i’ve been packing peanut butter or just peanuts in the husband’s lunches lately. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are one of my comfort foods.  Flavorful, full of carbs and sugar, just enough protein to prevent a quick crash.  There have been times when i’m sad or bored I’ve eaten multiple in a day.  Because they are such a temptation food, i’ve been avoiding them.

The boys are getting together tonight to game, however, and i decided to make beef stew.  But i wanted something to go with it, so I tried a new recipe, Bob’s Red Mill Three Seed Bread.  Growing up we used to get what my dad called “birdseed bread”, a multigrain with lots of seeds, and i admit, I kind of miss it!  I haven’t been able to make or buy something quite like it.  This wasn’t quite the same, but it came out great!

I enjoyed it with some Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.  And when i say enjoyed, i mean really savored each bite.  I could taste the different flavors, enjoying the salty and sweet.  There were different textures of the bread, the seeds and the spread.  

I’m currently reading Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, by Darya Pino Rose, Ph.D.  One of the things she has referenced so far is an experiment about denial and delayed gratification.  The experiment was individuals were told to not eat some candy that was available as they watched a short film.  Some were asked to imagine never eating the candy, and others were asked to skip them now, but could have some later if they wanted.  A control group got to eat the candy during the film.  After the film, everyone was allowed to eat the candy.  Those who delayed the gratification ate less than those who were denied and the control group!  

Many of my cravings are about habit and immediate satisfaction, even if the taste is mediocre.  When i tell myself i can have it later (if i still want it), I feel safer somehow.  I have the transportation and funds available to purchase food if i really want it later.  Sometimes the craving passes unfulfilled, and sometimes (like this craving for peanut butter!), i should address it.  

Fulfilling this desire wasn’t cheap calorie wise, but it was entirely “real food”, with delicious flavors.  I felt no guilt about enjoying it, and even ate it in addition to my smoothie, as i wanted some veggie.  Did i really just type that?  I wanted green, in the morning?  Me? I can and should! have delicious foods.  Cravings can be important, but not urgent, to use a Franklin Covey explanation.  I’m pretty sure I won’t die if i wait and see if i really want that candy bar.

One side effect of making all this real food is I am spending a LOT more time in the kitchen.  I think i will ask for an iPhone speaker thingy for Christmas, so i can play Pandora as i cook.  Currently I carry my chromebook down, which is fine, but the speakers are so-so.  I have a small speaker ball type thing, which is OK quality sound and definitely louder, but it would be neat to have something i could leave in one place.  

I’ve already asked for a new yoga mat, so it may be a very practical holiday for me.  Which I’m totally OK with!  

“To be without …

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