In a previous entry, we talked about the foundational skill in healing your relationship with food--The Pause. It's the space for the voice to come out that is the internal monologue that we don't normally listen to. What's so interesting is that the voice is not always saying what's in your best interest. Sometimes the voice says things like "you don't need to eat this" when you are legitimately hungry. Or "go ahead, you deserve it." Or even that tricky, "Just one won't hurt." By taking a moment to listen to the pause, you get to really listen to what has been holding you back so far in your life. It's like eavesdropping on your subconscious.
But how do we actually USE the pause in real life? One way to do it is to pair it with the Hunger/Fullness Scale. What's the Hunger/Fullness Scale? It's a mental construct that allows you to identify when you're legitimately hungry, when you're not, and to avoid over or under-eating. (Yes, under-eating is a thing!)
The numbers on the Hunger/Fullness Scale go from 1 to 5. The number one means that you are so starving you would knock over Queen Elizabeth to steal her half eaten apple. The number five means that you are so full that Brad Pitt (or Scarlett Johansson, if that's more your thing) could be sitting in bed, eating pizza and warm brownies, inviting you to sit on their lap and you'd go, "Naw, I'm good."
The sweet spot is three. That's "I could eat more but I don't need to." Specifically, it's that moment when you feel food in your belly. It doesn't mean you need to STOP eating at three. But this is the time when you can use The Pause to ask yourself. "How much more of this do I plan to eat?" Then, when the voice in your head answers, "I'm going to finish the rest of this... because..." you can decide whether to listen to it. "I'm going to finish the rest of this because there are only a couple of bites left" is different than, "I'm going to finish the rest of this because I don't want my partner to see the leftovers and know I ate it."
The Pause and the Hunger/Fullness Scale are what allow you to be more mindful when you eat and to make a conscious decision to stop eating before you're overly full. It's about learning to listen to your body AND your mind, so that they can revert to their natural state of wellness.
Feel free to forward this post if you find it interesting, e-mail me with questions, suggestions, and success stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gratitude Challenge: Day Three. What is a song you love?
“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana