Where is your spotlight?

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

My clients often come to their second session and say, “I’ve discovered that I don’t like a lot of the food I eat.” When I hear this, I know they have turned their spotlight in a new direction.

Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDC, author of Discover Mindful Eating says, “One way to understand mindful eating is to imagine your awareness as a spotlight representing where your mind is in any given moment.” When I’m engrossed in reading a murder mystery, I may not notice the beep of the microwave signaling that my tea water is ready. Instead my spotlight is focused on what I’m reading.

Texting behind your car’s steering wheel is another example of your mind’s spotlight on your cell phone placing you and others on the road in danger. Sure, you may quickly glance at the road to adjust your steering or suddenly slam on your breaks before missing a turn, but really, where is your spotlight? Have you had any close calls? Here I am not referring to cell phone calls!

Mismanaging your spotlight can have minor consequences, such as cold water for tea, or grave consequences, such as plowing into a SUV and killing or maiming six “little angels” and their mother. Likewise, mindlessly shoveling food into your body can have minor or grave consequences. If you shovel infrequently, you temporarily suffer that sluggish and overstuffed feeling. But if you shovel regularly, eventually your body will give you grave signals that something is wrong through elevated levels of blood pressure, glucose, LDL cholesterol, and more. All this takes on a churning life of its own called the metabolic syndrome. Consequently, a dangerous syndrome gets a life of its own while it steals yours and you keep shoveling food to feed it. So, what do you do?

The clients I referred to earlier experienced a mindful-eating-tasting exercise at their first session. The next week, they shared about scrutinizing the taste of the food they ate by simply turning their mind’s spotlight in a new direction. The journey is not easy, yet a whole new world opens up. In time it seems ridiculous to continue eating food you do not like. Instead, with your fork, mouth, tongue and trusty spotlight, you learn to select food you enjoy.

So what do you do? Begin by asking yourself, “Where is my mind’s spotlight?”

To post questions for an upcoming column or to see more of Dr. Cullman’s columns visit www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. Call 419-494-7699 or email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com to schedule an individual session. The next Mindful Eating Group Workshop will be scheduled next fall. Contact Dr. Cullman about presentations, seminars and personalized retreats.