The Scariest Question I was Ever Asked

“Would you be ok if you never lost another pound in your life?”

my fitness/nutrition coach asked me during a phone meeting one day.

The initial reaction

Oh fuck. I felt it down into my stomach. I wanted to throw up. I even felt a little shaky and started to sweat a little. I couldn’t even articulate an answer to her for a few moments. Honestly, I could hardly even breathe.

No!! I am not ok. I have weight I have to lose!!! This isn’t my happy weight!! How could I give it up? Losing weight has been my obsession as long as I can remember. Since I was told I could pinch more than an inch. Since I realized I was bigger than my friends and my sisters who were tiny. Since a boyfriend told me that I had a bit of  a belly. Since some one yelled “fat girl” at me when was out running one day. Since I was told by a dietician in middle school that cottage cheese and fruit makes a great treat (TREAT?! Seriously?!) Since I knew deep in my core that I didn’t look like the girls in the magazines. Since depression forced me to the only self care I knew – food – and soon I was bursting out of increasingly larger clothes sizes.

I even hired this coach originally in hope that she would encourage (um..make) me to do a figure competition so that once and for all I would buckle down and lose all this weight. That I could finally be ripped (lots of muscles, little fat) and BE HAPPY. I was convinced it is where happiness was. My whole identity was tied to that actually. I planned my days and my life around the concept that being super lean would make me happy.

Deeper consideration

But is that where happiness is?

Would I be ok if I never lost another pound in my life? (breathe. breathe. breathe.)

I am in a happy marriage with a great friend and partner.  My daughter is happy and healthy.  I am in good health.  I have a good relationship with my family.  I have an amazing set of friends (honestly, I am floored by the people I get to be surrounded by).  I get to lift weights regularly (I love it so!).  My cats are little rays of joy (most of the time!) .  I am educated. I am free to make choices about my life.  I have regular time in nature. I get to learn things all the time. I laugh a lot.  My stress is low. I have practiced mindfulness enough that I take some regularly to pause and appreciate the small day to day things around me in life that are stunning.

It actually bows me over in heart-filled gratitude when I think about how ok I am in ways that have nothing to do with what I weigh.

I don’t know what I answered her at the time. I probably mumbled an obligatory “yeah” as I thought I should.

How I use that question now

I love the journey that the one question took me on.  The pause it made me take in my life and continues to make me take. There are days of course when I still get all wrapped around the axel about weight and body image things. This questions helps me pause and take stock of my life and ground myself in the reality of how beautiful life really is when you stop to take it all in.  The answer for me is always YES now even if I occasionally forget that.

Its not even that I have given up on all body composition goals as I do still have those.  I realize, however, that my happiness in life is NOT tied to the weight on the scale.

I wanna know…

How about you? Would you be ok if you never lost another pound in your life? How does that make you feel? What might that realization change for you?

 

Appreciating the …Everything

Do you ever have that moment where you have the realization that one day every thing around you will change?  The bed you wake up in, the way you make coffee in the morning, the routine of your day, the drive you take to work or to the gym, the people you talk and interact with on a daily or at least frequent basis. I originally titled this post Appreciating the Mundane as recently I have really been considering that every thing I do during the day that will one day be different.

That consideration made me not want to leave out the big things either. I am lucky enough to still have both of my parents, my sisters, my best friend from childhood, my husband and my daughter (in addition to all the other amazing people in my life).  One day that will not be the case.  That realization makes me want to cling to all of them so tightly and never let go in hopes that it will never change and they will never leave.

Change, however, is the one certainty in life.  We come with an expiration date. These bodies that we have will change.  Moods and emotions change. Relationships change. Our children grow up. Catastrophic things happen and then pass. The best moments of our lives arise and pass.

Rather than giving in to the anxiety of the change that happens in life, I practice breathing, appreciating and being the in moment.  I don’t know what is coming next but I do know what’s in front of me right now.  I want to savor and enjoy all of it. Every. Single. Ordinary. Extraordinary. Piece. I lose out if I let my thoughts drift to worry about it all changing or remembering how it used to be.  I want this present moment to be as deep and rich as I allow it to be.

BreatheSavorEnjoy-2

The Slow, Unsexy Sure-Fire Way to Success

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

This has been my mantra recently.
I am convinced it is what leads to success at most things. In a world where we want a quick fix, magic pill and everything NOW, it can be really challenging. It is not sexy either. It does work though. You are what you do every day. Change will happen.

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

I am 42 and want to compete as a weightlifter. I have a coach, good programming and I know what to work on. I show up at the gym regularly and do the work. Slowly things are changing. One kilo at a time, one inch of technique refinement practiced again and again. Change will happen.

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

I want to make some body composition changes. I figure out a great way to do it that does not put me back in the restrict and binge cycle. I figure out how I can eat for the rest of my life and then watch my body change. Not over night, a little at time. A pound a time. Oh man. I want it to be faster. Some times it agonizing at this pace. How successful will I be if I keep looking for the next sure-fire plan? I am doing the right things one meal at a time, one day at a time. Change will happen.

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

Patience and consistency.

I know I am some times mean to myself. My inner voice can be cutting, shaming, critical. I want to change that. I build awareness and I start to make different choices in how I talk to myself. I am deliberate and I practice often. Change will happen. I am kinder more often. I catch myself and make a different choice. My inner world gets kinder, better. It makes me kinder, better to the world around me.

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

I want to grow my business so that I can help others connect with peace, happiness and health. I find good mentors to learn from. I implement changes. I am honest and authentic and I put my message out here regularly. I learn what is working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly. I try new things when I fail. I keep taking steps. Keep moving forward. Progress is made. Change is happening. Its not over night and it maybe small. Maybe one person at a time but the community grows and more people connect with peace, happiness and health.

Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.
Patience and consistency.

My Inner Voice is a Bitch

Does any of this narrative sound familiar?

Why would you think you could do THAT?

Who do you think you are?

You are just going to fail AGAIN.

Of course, you are bingeing again. You will never be different.

Ouch. What a bitch. I wouldn’t let any person talk to me that way.  Why do I allow myself?

How aware of you of the voice the chatters in your head all day long? In what manner does it speak to you? Is it kind and encouraging? I am guessing for many people the answer is no. That voice can be mean, ugly, shaming, berating and complaining.

I know for years that inner voice kept me feeling not good enough. Its what kept my identity tied to the number on the scale and the size of my jeans. It is what never allowed me to acknowledge any kind of success and kept me from trying things that I wanted to try. It kept me small and didn’t like me playing bigger in the world than it thought I “should”.

It is this self talk that keeps us small. It is a barrier to living life we love fully and being exactly how amazing we need to be in the world.

Here are some steps to shut that bitch down:

1. Recognize and Acknowledge it.  Start tuning into it (this is different than listening to it!) and increase your awareness of how often and what kind of messages you are getting.

2. Separate yourself from it.  I learned this part from Geneen Roth’s work. She just refers to this inner monologue as “The Voice”.  Separating yourself from it means that instead of hearing – “I am not good enough, what makes me think I could do this?”, you begin to hear it as “YOU are not good enough. What makes you think You could do this?” As if some one is yelling at you directly.  For me, this allows some space and clarity about what is going on and I can hear the voice more clearly.

(Edit: I had a comment once I posted this blog where some one told me that “I have learned that I am not my inner voice.”  YES!! So much Yes!! I need to make it clear here that you are NOT this voice. It is years of conditioning and responding to the world that created this voice. You are what is underneath all of this – the kindness, love and amazingness that shows through when this voice is quieted. Its the other reason that learning separation from this highly critical inner voice, so you can get in touch and hear the person that you really are.  )

3. Shut it down.  Geneen talks about telling it (actually YELLING at it) to shut the fuck up. Be as mean to it as it is to you. This needs to be a constant and relentless practice as this voice chatters at us all the time. The more you shut it down and don’t allow it to invade your brain, the more you will be able to stand against it.

That voice has been with us a long time so this practice takes time but it is so worth it.

Why is this worth your time?

Because this voice keeps you playing small. It makes you believe you can never change or be different. It makes you feel like you are not enough as you are. That you are  not enough to:

  • go do what you want to do
  • to speak up
  • to allow for self care
  • for a good relationship
  • for care and love for yourself and others
  • LIVE THE LIFE THAT YOU LOVE

When you can quiet this voice, you can hear what is beyond that. Your power, your passion and energy. Your worth.

“Oh yeah, I do feel afraid to try this but I know I want to so lets go!”

“I am worth that new opportunity that I am getting at work.”

“This person is not treating me well and I don’t deserve that.”

“Wow. I need a break and I am going to take a few minutes today for myself.”

Quiet that voice down and find who you are under that.

Quiet that voice down and find who you are under that.

You can feel the fear and take action. That inner voice is not who you truly are. Change does not come from shaming and berating ourselves. When you can shut down this voice, there is FINALLY room for patience and kindness towards yourself.

For me now, I can tune into this chatter more quickly and I can shut it down.  Other times, I only recognize it when I feel less than, not worthy or afraid to try something, then I pause and think oh yeah – the voice.  That bitch. Shut up.

Now go! Be amazing! :D

It’s time to #breakthebinge

(guest post from Julie Stubblefield)

Dieting.  We’ve all done it.  We’ve all hated it.  Yet, we keep going back for more.  Despite feeling unworthy, unsuccessful, and unvalidated in the process, dieting is the most-accepted form of self-abuse.

There.  I said it.  Dieting is self-abuse.  What’s scarier is that it is not only accepted, but expected.  Care to take a walk on the dark side with me?

Let me tell you a story of a girl and her friend.  

They spend a lot of time together.  But this girl’s friend is a bit overbearing.  Just when the girl feels like she is being successful, the friend shoots her down.  Just when the girl feels like she is making positive changes in her life, her friend abruptly tells her she can’t.  And when the girl is feeling particularly vulnerable, the friend reminds her of all her failures, pouring salt into the wound.  Even though the friend is more critical than supportive, the girl stays close, keeping her in her daily life.

Upon first glance, we would see this as a pretty dysfunctional relationship.  Why would this girl continue to let this friend in her life?  Who would want to be treated that way?  Who could tolerate it on a daily basis?

The girl is me.  The girl is you.  The friend?  It’s the diet.

Put the word “diet” in place of “friend” in the story above.  Ouch.

We choose to keep ourselves in a nasty relationship with dieting.  We allow ourselves to feel like utter shit when we don’t achieve a goal.  We know what will happen at the end of every diet…self-loathing, disappointment, and frustration.  We blame ourselves.  We think we can’t succeed.  We feel like we are undeserving of changing our bodies.  We are drawn to diets, because we think they are to answer to happiness, the solution to smaller waists, the key to gratification.  Even when we know how we feel when we are on them, what happens when we end them, we keep going back for more.

We are abusing ourselves with dieting.  

If you knew a friend was married to a guy who only let her eat certain foods, required her to workout a certain number of hours per week, and made her feel awful when she couldn’t follow the rules, you would tell her to leave his ass!

If you knew a friend was dating someone who belittled her, made her feel like a failure, and made her cry on a regular basis, you would tell her it’s not a good relationship.

Can you see the similarities here?  These flaws, these restrictions, these rules of dieting put us in a cycle of emotional and physical damage.  Women face this daily.  And we expect this to be how we change our bodies.

Statistics:

What’s fascinating is that 68% of people regain what is lost on a diet within 3 years.  Even more startling is that only about 5% of those who achieve results in a crash diet will maintain the change. {sourced from livestrong.com}

Do you fit into either of those statistics?

Re-read this:  68% regain within 3 years.  There is no specific diet being isolated as being the troublesome one (though I could list a dozen).  Dieting as a generalized term is the problem.

The Cycle:

  • Feel guilty about health and/or physique
  • Go on a diet to change it
  • Follow the rules as long as possible
  • Eat a food not on the list because the diet is unrealistic
  • Feel guilty about the food
  • Possibly eat more
  • Feel more guilt and possibly shame
  • Repeat the cycle (sometimes this happens daily, weekly, monthly)

We stand up in outrage when we see women struggling with external relationships we can see, we stand up to be able to breastfeed in public, we stand up to help moms deal with depression.

Why the hell can’t we see what we are doing to ourselves?  Why are we continuing this cycle?

Because we think there is no other way.

Breaking the Cycle:

  • Stop counting.   Fill your body with great food.  When you put protein, veggies, fruits, and fats in your body, the calories will take care of themselves…every time.
  • Make your own rules.  Screw the status quo.  Eat more of what makes you feel good, less of what doesn’t.  Does eating early in morning make you feel worse?  Then don’t.
  • Slow down.  We want fast results, like yesterday.  Making your own rules takes time.  And if you want to break the cycle, you have to be willing to take the time to listen to YOUR body.
  • Lighten up.  We make dieting so serious!  And when we struggle, it gets even more so.  Find humor in mistakes.  Find a way to laugh.  Find a way to enjoy the process.
  • Give yourself compassion.  This is probably the most difficult one.  Know that you are doing the best you can each day, and that truly is enough!  The results will come in time.
It’s time to stand up for ourselves.
It’s time to stop abusing ourselves with diets.
It’s time to #breakthebinge.

If you are ready to break your binge, you don’t have to do it alone.

Julie

My awesome friend Julie!! Check out here program! http://bit.ly/1Dl1gkV

 This week’s blog post is a a guest post written by my good friend Julie Stubblefield of Fit Mom Revolution. She has been featured on Zen Barbell before and is one of the women who I am working with to put on an in person event in 2015 talking about the exact topic that she writes about here (I am excited! Its going to be wonderful!) Julie is passionate about helping women breaking the binge cycle and ending the diet mindset. You can check out here program here:  

There is Room for All of Us to Shine

 

There is enough here for all of us toI truly believe that there is room for all of us to shine. Another person’s success does not have to take away from mine. My success doesn’t take away from other people’s accomplishments. Even if I am doing something exactly as some one else – weightlifting, coaching, writing, whatever – we can be competitive together, we can challenge each other, some one can even be better but at the end of the day, I am on my journey and they are on theirs and we can both shine. We can both grow, learn, help, be bold, be ourselves, be present, work – SHINE!

I don’t have to demean, insult, gossip about other people because they have success. It only lessens my shine.

There is enough success, opportunity, connection, challenge, LIFE for all of us to shine.

So just a little reminder when you feel yourself closing down, tearing down another, feeling that resentment of another’s success, pause for a moment and realize there is enough for all of us to shine. When you realize that see how it changes your perspective on your situation, your success. Let me know what you think.

#shineon
#loveyourlife
#awakeandalive

2014 Reflection

Wow. What a year.

Weightlifting:

  • 5 weightlifting competitions
  • Started a Barbell Club for women
  • Attended a Masters Olympic weightlifting camp at the Olympic Training Center
  • Completed my USAW weightlifting performance coach certification
  • Met some of lifting heros – Jon North, Travis Mash, Donny Shankle, Cara Heads Slaughter
  • Attended the American Open
  • Started the year with Outlaw Barbell programming, Ended it with joining the Dark Orchestra Online team and getting my program from Jared Enderton
  • Got an Eleiko Barbell

IMG_5485Music: Saw Justin Timberlake, Weezer, Neil Finn and Queen with Adam Lambert, the Legwarmers

Learned a ton about movement the Train Like A Girl seminar weekend, Darkside strength, Juggernaut Training systems, Original Strength.

Decided to stop coaching CrossFit, Being a part of a TEAM of women for Mudderella, Rugged Maniac, Strong(wo)man camp, Paddleboarding, float tank, shooting a gun, an engagement, a new tattoo, going with friends to get their tattoos,a tattoo gallery in my bathroom, family, friends… IMG_4989

Colorado, Charlottesville,Kentucky, Italy, Canada

Writing for Barbell Daily, interviews, Fit Mom Revolution feature, Women of Strength book.

Oh. And realizing I am not a broken person. That was pretty big.

IMG_5238Of course these are the highlights, you don’t hear as much about my day to day struggles – fears, ups and downs, doubts, but the year was full of those as well. Its part of life – the human condition.  I am proud of how I have grown and what I experienced in this past year. I am pretty pumped for whats ahead as well – more weightlifting, travels and tattoos.

Lets GO!!!

Having a 6 pack or being lazy?

Recently I did an interview for a podcast that is coming out at the beginning of2015 . During that interview I was reminded of the pain/discomfort I went through when I finally declared that I was done chasing a visible six pack. Each year for years, I would declare that this year for SURE would be my year of abs! The more I chased it the more miserable I was and the further away I got.

I had a coach of mine ask me what I thought six pack abs were going to give me. That is the million dollar question – what about my life was going to change when I got “there”? Would people love me more? Would life be smooth and blissful? Would I love ME more? The answer is No. I would still be me just with less body fat.

0 7 | 1 0 | 2 0 1 4

Huh. That doesn’t feel like what I wanted. I wanted to be new, different, better.

In letting go of that goal, with a bit of deeper understanding, there was relief and fear. I felt like in sharing with people that while I was letting that goal go that I needed to assure THEM (myself too maybe??!) that it didn’t mean that I was going to be sitting on the couch and eating junk food all the time. As if some how those were my two options 1) get abs or 2) be lazy and eat junk.

Our minds get binary some times – it can only be this OR that. The reality is there are a whole spectrum of options out there. I love moving in ways that bring me joy. I love who I am and my body and have a deep desire to take care of me so that I can be who I want to be in life and hopefully positively impact the lives of those around me. When you love something you take care of it.

It took me a while to let go of that fear and assure myself that I was ok. I also needed to be honest with myself about what I was REALLY wanting – love, growth, connection, passion and peace and I can have that NOW. I don’t have to wait until what ever X is that I am waiting for.

Love is all you need

Love your life.
Love who you are.
#awakeandalive

My Experience with Mindful Eating Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my experience with mindful eating. The section is a bit of random thoughts about practicing mindful eating to conclude this series. Enjoy!

1. The guidelines are more than they seem. 

In looking at the previous two posts on mindful eating and the eating guidelines, I realized I was describing them as a list of things to do and felt like I needed to convey that they were so much more than that. Geneen Roth says “the eating guidelines are like nested Russian dolls; they are exactly what they appear to be and they are also worlds opening endlessly onto other worlds.” These practices are about tuning in to your life and your body and paying attention to the here and now. Mindful eating involves becoming aware of and questioning the beliefs and stories that you have. I alluded to this idea a bit in part 2. While the guidelines are useful in and of themselves, its what we learn when practicing them, when resisting them, when sitting with them with ease. THAT is why they can serve as an endless learning cycle. That is where the growth comes and eventually peace.

2. You need support when practicing mindful eating. Find a partner or start a group.

After reading point #1 above you might get a better understanding of why doing this on your own is not setting yourself up for success. You need some one to help you learn and reflect so that you can grow and get through those hard spots. It is hard to do this on your own and make yourself question beliefs or even know what to question. You know how you can clearly see that your friends situation is a hot mess but you can’t figure out your own shit? THAT is why you need an inquiry/mindful eating partner. :D  Geneen does provide a set of book club questions on her website so you could even form a group and learn together.

3. How does this fit in with being a strength athlete?

I don’t know yet. :) What I can tell you is that so far I have not noticed any effects on my ability to train and make progress. I am more hindered by my askew pelvis than I am by food. I am guessing if competed at a higher level that I might have to make some different considerations around this. I don’t track macros or calories at this point. I do some times drink protein shakes to try and bolster the amount of protein I get during the day even though its not always what my body wants or if I am hungry or not. There might be a time that I need to cut weight to make a weight class (I compete in weightlifting) and I am confident I can do so in a way that is mindful and not crazy making.

4. Will it really take care of my nutritional needs?

I am not a doctor so I can’t answer this from that perspective. I am just a person sharing their experience and thoughts.  I believe if you eat what your body wants that you will eventually turn to things that make you feel good and give you fuel to do what you need to do and to enjoy life. While you might think that all you would eat is peanut butter and whipped cream (or is that just me?!?), my guess is that if you are really tuned in to what makes you feel good and what your body really wants that you will end up choosing a variety of foods that help you thrive (which also includes peanut butter and whipped cream!).

5. Can I really learn to trust myself around food?

Yes. A very resounding yes. I know it feels not even possible some times. TRUST ME. I have been there. I have uttered the cry “Oh my! I can’t possibly trust myself around (buttercream frosting, a bowl of m&ms, cake, chocolate, insert choice of food to binge on here).” I hated that I felt so very powerless against food. I NEVER thought I could do some of the things I have done.  Sit and savor 1 piece of chocolate and then decide I don’t want more? NO WAY not me! Until it happened. It takes time and a lot of work on deprogramming all the messages you have been fed and repeated to yourself but it can happen. Once you take away the forbidden, food is just food. It can still be special of course and savored and delighted in but that is different than NO! I can’t possibly! I am a bad/lazy/undisciplined person if I eat this.

6. Answer this question: How do you want to live your life? 

One of the things that I use as a guide is my answer to that question. The things I wrote down while pondering it: happy, open, free, joyful for just being alive, peace with myself, loving myself, loving EVERY minute of my life.

I decided I wanted peace more than anything….and health of course so that I can live fully as long as possible. I can have those things in my list at any weight. Admittedly, I do still struggle with food and body image – those are pretty deeply engrained patterns in my brain but the practice of mindful eating has allowed for me to have much more peace.  I can’t ask for much more than that. The more I practice the better I will get. It takes a lot of effort to look effortless at something. Hating myself, shaming myself, not trusting myself, only brought me suffering and there was no satisfaction with any goal I hit or size I was.  I have increased my peace and joy with mindful eating and these guidelines. When I get tempted to find the next diet or the next plan that I NEED to be on to be ok – I come back to this question and my answers and think what do I REALLY want? Peace. Presence. Love for myself, for my friends and family, for my life – every minute of it.

IMG_5721

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1 and 2 of this series can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).

My Experience with Mindful Eating Part 2

In my last post, I introduced the idea of mindful eating and Geneen Roth’s work. I wanted to step through each of the guidelines and share my experiences with practicing each one.

What I like about these is they are not diet RULES. Rules are something to be followed, rigid guard rails that are meant to control our behavior. Geneen refers to them as “if love could talk” guidelines. Its how you want to be with something that you love – attentive, aware, kind. If you choose not to follow one on a given day you are not a bad person. The practices are about being mindful and deliberate about the choices that we make.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that change, even done with love, presence and patience,  can be uncomfortable sometimes. Just allow for that and know that you will be ok.  Geneen recommends working on one at a time, practicing, noticing and approaching the guidelines in ways where we don’t set ourselves up for failure.

Geneen Roth’s 7 Guidelines for Eating – Through the experience of Kara Silva. :D

  1. Eat when you are hungry.  This was harder than I thought it might be at first. I quickly came to realize that tired feels very close to hunger to me. With practice, I have learned to separate head hunger and stomach hunger. I have also noticed that I felt guilty some times when I eat as I feel like I “shouldn’t” like some how eating is bad. I have to remind myself that its ok to eat when I am actually hungry.  I have also noticed that I can make up the hunger feeling on occasion if there is something I want to eat. I just notice that and make a conscious decision to eat something or not. I think with food lists and rules, things that are “good” or “bad”, we some times forget to get in touch with the simple feeling of hunger.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car. This is actually pretty easy for me. I don’t have little children and my husband travels a lot so I can pretty easily create a calm environment for myself to eat in. I do choose to eat with my husband in front of the TV some evenings but other than that I tend to clear off my eating space and make things as clear and calm as I can. Also, I do still eat in the car on the way to the gym as I just like to do it. The tougher challenge for me comes with the next guideline. :D
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music. Now this can be a challenging piece. I often want to grab my phone or read or listen to something while I eat if I am eating alone – which I do fairly often. What a different experience to be completely present with the food on my plate and the thoughts in my head. I want to nourish my body, why wouldn’t I want to pay attention and savor what I am eating. Yes, some times its boring admittedly but I rarely find myself over eating or thinking “Oh, its all gone already?” when I eat undistracted. While this guideline can be uncomfortable, it can also be beautiful. I love the focus on the every day moments and meals and the food in front of me. <3
  4. Eat what your body wants. If you knew no diet rules and food was just food – calories needed for fueling, living, savoring – what would you eat? I feel like since I have experimented with diets so much over the years that I know what makes me feel good and what doesn’t.  Most people think they would just power down all junk food – which you might, for a bit until the excitement and forbidden-ness wears off. I like foods that fuel me for the life that I want to have and the activities that I want to do (weightlifting!). I know a meal based on protein helps me to that and it helps if different tastes and textures are involved.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied. This is a subtle one to miss if you are not also following #3. Many times I will just eat what ever is on my plate regardless of satisfaction level. Some times I keep eating WAY beyond that for various reasons – I love the taste of what ever it is, I am nervous, or social or I don’t want to feel what ever it is I am scared to feel at the moment. But in the quietness of savoring food, there is a moment, I have found, where my body says that is enough right there. It can be quiet and I can miss it if I am not paying attention. It might mean there is still food on my plate and that a couple of bites was all I needed. This is still the guideline I need more practice with as I can still way over eat on occasion and need to understand more about the why that happens.
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others. This is so hard for me. It can make me really uncomfortable. I have spent years hiding food and eating in secret so that I can enjoy what I want with out fear of being judged. Judged for being slovenly, fat, undisciplined, lazy. So I sneak – bites and tastes of things I “shouldn’t eat so I can have peace and non-judgement of others. But is it true they are judging me? How much control do I really have over how others perceive me? If I am eating what my body wants and being present, does it matter that people may judge? So lots of open spots for me to explore here still. Kara and Chocolate
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.  Yes, yes and 1000 times yes. I used to say food is fuel – which it is but it doesn’t need to always been utilitarian. Enjoy what you are eating. Savor what ever you have. Take pleasure in your meal and feeding your beautiful self.  Its fun to share a good meal

This post touches on my experience with the guidelines themselves and while the guidelines are valuable the growth tends to come from noticing where you struggle.  Its in these times when you figure out what you really believe about yourself, food, other people and questioning THOSE things are what brings the growth. I will cover this a bit more in part 3 of my Experience with Mindful Eating.

I hope this has been interesting and helpful to you. I have really learned a great deal about myself and my beliefs through mindful eating and Geneen’s work.  I would love to hear from you on any thoughts or questions you might have and any experiences you would like to share.