“Food is love,” That’s what my father always told me. Food is care and nourishment. Food is prepared by those we love or by people who love to prepare it. Food is a blessing and our relationship to food is fraught with guilt, criticism, and stress.
We don’t know what to eat, what’s safe, what will help us lose weight without trying. In fact there is so much information about food most of us let the complexity overwhelm us. And instead of paying attention we scream a little inside ours heads and decide it’s better not to think about it.
But this is a mistake, because food and eating are two of the richest and most powerful sources of happiness we have. The trick is to find a way to enjoy eating without treating your body like a garbage disposal. Eating well may not be easy, but it can actually be very simple.
Here are my suggestions for simply eating:
Suggestion 1: Eat things that grow
Cereal does not grow, chips do not grow, and M&M’s (despite my girlfriend’s many requests for me to plant an M&M tree in our yard) do not grow.
The biggest mistake I see people make with food is that they don’t eat enough things that grow. Especially green things. Things that grow are good for you.
You might say, “Yes, but I don’t like those green things.” Well guess what, you didn’t like coffee at one point but you learned. Which means you have the power to change your tastes. And you must use these powers well. Which brings me to my next point:
Suggestion 2: Learn to eat things you don’t like
If you aren’t intentionally expanding your palate your life will suck. Just look at some elderly people. They only like a few things so they go to the same reseraunt again and again. Don’t become a boring old person. Be a cool granny. It is within your power.
For example I used to hate black coffee and so I drank it with cream and sugar. And then one day I didn’t have any sugar, just cream, and I noticed the coffee tasted pretty good. So I stopped using sugar. Then later I did a fast and cut out cream. And guess what? I learned to like black coffee.
Your mind is AMAZINGLY flexible. So use the heck out of that thing.
Suggestion 3: Eat things that aren’t good for you, and enjoy them.
The #1 enemy of simply eating is trying to keep a perfect diet. DON’T DO IT.
Every now and again, eat the stuff you shouldn’t and enjoy the shit out of it. Better eating habits come from improving your overall average of healthy eating not one good or bad meal. So don’t try for perfection. Instead try to eat better 80% of the time. That’s plenty to have an impact.
Suggestion 4: Don’t Eat Plus
Most of the time we eat plus. We eat plus talk, plus watch TV, plus look at our phones. This leads you to eat too much because you aren’t paying attention.
Luckily the antidote to this is simple: Just eat.
At least once a week just eat something.And make it something you love. Because studies show we actually eat our favorite foods faster.
So once week sit down, shut up, and eat that donut, because a mindfulness expert told you it was good for you 🙂 Deal?
OK so that’s it. Simple enough right? Now for the challenge.
1. Practice: Choose at least one of the following practices to try:
a. Choose a healthy food you don’t like and commit to eating it in an effort to start liking it. And by healthy I don’t mean diet coke. Think kale, brussel sprouts, collard greens -(If you need a good recipe drop me a line).
b. Eat one meal today without any distraction. No TV, no phone, no company. Just you, a plate, and your mind. Eat slowly. Put down your spoon/fork between bites and see what you notice.
c. Write a list of your perfect food rules
a. Reflect on the idea of learning to eat this food you don’t like.
What stories come up around this?
What fears arise?
What deeply held beliefs arise about what you do and don’t like?
b. Reflect on the experience of just eating.
What did you notice about your pace?
What did you notice about your patience?
What did you notice about the foods flavor?
What did you notice about how much you ate?
c. Reflect on rules:
Where did these rules come from?
What do you think would happen if you kept them?
What if you could eat healthier without these rules?
Have these rules ever actually helped you eat better?
3. Share: Please share in one or all of the following ways
Blog – Write a blog about the practice you chose and why. Talk about your history with eating and whether or not this challenge changed your perspective on it.
Post – Share w #30dayhappy and/or in our facebook group what food you chose to work on liking, one eating rule you have, or anything around food you’ve struggled with.
Comment – Post a comment about what you chose to work on in this challenge, any questions about the 4 Suggestions, or thoughts about how eating has helped or hindered your ability to be happy.