by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist
“So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” Author Unknown
Counting on a diet to bring the quality of life you yearn for is like “waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” Let’s face it – has dieting ever brought you what you truly want? Mindful-eating, on the other hand, is not a diet but a lifestyle teaching how to cultivate your own unique epicurean bouquet at every meal. Three simple awareness tools help you begin.
1. Prepare the soil: This tool conditions the “soil” of your mind before each meal to soak in awareness. Calmly pause a few minutes before eating to view your internal landscape. Notice any thoughts, feelings or sensations that could thwart paying attention to the taste and pleasure of food when eating it? Such landscape distractions quickly meld into emotional eating, so remain calm and reflective to empower awareness once again.
2. Plant the first seed: Mindful-eating seeds are bites of food. Just as a gardener gently tamps the soil to hold a seed in place, take the freshly “aware” soil of your mind and tamp it around your first bite. Is the second seed – that is, the bite – already waiting on your fork? If so, set it down and tamp your awareness around that first bite again. Pay attention to the harvest on your tongue. Notice the bounty of flavors. Do they have “bang for the bite”? If so, then plant the second seed patiently waiting on your fork.
3. Plant one seed at a time: The first seeding bite is the easiest, because it is the first. Is it daunting to think how long it will take to eat all the other bites? After all, you have a lot of important things to do besides dawdle with mindfully eating. Beware! Hold that thought! No-time-to-mindfully-eat can be a constantly reappearing distraction coinciding with the disappearance of food on your plate. What can you do?
Take charge of your mental landscape! Dare to trust your mind and body to guide your next step. That’s all you need to know – the next step. In time you’ll learn to “plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers” – then each meal becomes your special epicurean bouquet one bite at a time.
See all of Dr. Cullman’s columns at www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. To schedule a session or learn about mindful-eating groups, call her at 419-494-7699 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Cullman also plans and conducts workshops, seminars, presentations and personalized retreats teaching mindful-eating skills upon request.