Sunday, May 20, 2012

Being Mindful

It is so easy to rush through the day from one task to the next and never really stop and pay attention to the moment. When life gets hectic, I have to make a real, constant effort to pay attention to each task and to be aware of what’s going on.

Being present and mindful is especially important when it comes to food for me as I am an emotional eater. I am certainly a lot more mindful these days then several years ago, but when things get stressful, uncomfortable, overwhelming, and scary, I tend to “forget” about what I am putting into my mouth. I don’t truly look at the food; I don’t really taste the food; and I therefore easily eat a lot more food than I need. I may also “forget” to eat mainly plants.

Planning meals and scheduling time to eat throughout the day helps me a lot to pay more attention to what I am eating. But there are still times when I don’t pay as much attention as I should.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a  new app for my phone to keep track of the food I eat. Since I don’t count calories or points, and really never have, I like that the app is very simple; I simply input whenever I eat something. Writing down everything I eat certainly makes me more aware. There are many apps out there that do very similar things. I chose My Diet Journal because it’s easy to use and free. I don’t really like the word “diet” in the title, and I am looking at the “diet” part as “the things I eat in a day.”

My Diet Journal
To be completely honest, I started inputting everything I ate about four weeks ago, but after a few days, in the midst of life being unusually hectic, I convinced myself that it took too much time. When I’m really honest with myself, I just didn’t make it enough of a priority. How long does it really take to input a meal into a simple smart phone app? About a minute or two. Did I truly not have an extra minute? I think we all know the answer to this question. I think it was just easier at the time not to acknowledge what I was putting into my mouth (both when it comes to quantity and quality).

So a few days ago, I started again. No more excuses.

How is it going? Well. I like keeping track of what I am eating, and it certainly makes me think if I really need that handful of chips or those pieces of chocolate after lunch (not that there is anything wrong with either, but often it’s just not necessary). Sometimes I also write down how I am feeling. This is especially helpful when I “forget” to write something down (like the late night bowl of ice cream that I added the next morning. It certainly wasn’t necessary, but I wanted something to calm my nerves. I think a cup of herbal tea would have worked much better…). In addition to food, I am also keeping track of my vitamins, which I have been taking very inconsistently.

So for the time being, I will continue to write down what I eat to check in with myself and to help me to become as mindful as I would like to be again.Questions: Do you keep track of what you eat? If so, how? How mindful are you throughout the day? How mindful are you when you eat?
Be well,