Recently I was having a conversation with a girlfriend of mine and she said to me…’Sarah, I just want one day to go by when I don’t think about food.’ Being in that moment with her broke my heart because I’ve been there.
From the ages of 12-28 I spent everyday counting calories, stressing about food, and planning my next meal. It was torture. I think of all the time wasted that I could have been planning my business, helping others, creating more meaningful relationships. Instead, I was on a boring treadmill hating my body.
All of that changed when I started seeing mindful eating and living therapist Robin Mize five years ago. Robin helped me change my entire relationship with food and my body. The practice of mindful eating is trusting your body to have a natural weight and eat with ease. That means listening to your bodies cravings while also feeling how your body and mind feels after you eat certain foods. It takes a while to conquer mindful eating so please be patient with yourself. The practice took me 2 yrs to learn. Also, not everyone can go see a mindful eating therapist and that’s ok, there’s plenty of ways to love yourself and naturally lose weight without a therapist.
There are so many free resources online and great books to read that you can start to unpack your relationship to food (see my book list here). Most of the time when we’re overweight (if you have a medical condition that can make mindful eating more of a challenge, see your doctor) we eat and hate our bodies because we’re craving something else. We’re eating to mask childhood pain (in my case the death of my father when I was 15), a toxic job, a difficult relationship with your spouse, family pressures, just to name a few. Mindful eating helps you identify what those emotions are that cause us to eat. Once you identify them you start to become aware of why you’re eating when you’re not hungry.
Each of us have a natural weight. That’s the weight that our body, based on our genetics wants us to be, it’s probably not the dream size you want but I promise you that once you have a great relationship with food even if you’re not a size 4 you’ll love yourself. I wanted to share with you my 4 Ways to Stop Thinking About Food Everyday and Start Living Your Life. I hope these are helpful. You need to read lots of books, and customize advice from lots of sources to tailor a mindful eating and living plan that is right for you! There is no one size fits all, so here is my suggested guide:
4 Ways to Stop Thinking About Food Everyday and Start Living Your Life
- Really Focus On The Food! – Okurrr, this sounds bananas but it works. Part of the reason we hate our bodies and constantly think about food is because we don’t live in the present. We live in the ‘my life will be better once I’m thin’ mindset, therefore we constantly have to think about not eating donuts so one day we’ll be happy. That is crap. Every time you eat, really focus on what you’re eating by ONLY eating. That means you can’t eat while driving, in front of your computer, and definitely not in front of the TV. Eat without distractions and slowly eat your food. This will help you to become aware of the taste of food and will leave you more satisfied. This step is easy and free! Chew each bite about 20 times, taste the food, feel the food in your mouth, and notice how it tastes after swallowing. Does it taste how you expected it would, or does it not taste good at all? Satisfied eating will begin to cut down on manic constant thoughts of food.
- Quit the Fitness Tracker – For me the fitness and food counter apps became a toxic obsession that in the end had me saying ‘fuck it’ and eating and binging more, I feel they are designed to keep us constantly thinking about food. I want to remind you these tips are what worked for me. People are VERY attached to their fitness trackers and get upset when I talk about it but I find these devices are one of the main reasons we obsess about food and exercise. If you have a good relationship with your fitbit, keep it, but for me it created great anxiety. Same with diet books and magazines. You cannot lose 30lbs in 30 days and sustain that, it only works for 5% of all people. Stop wearing, subscribing, following people that promise great results in short periods of time or with expensive gadgets. If you log off from these outlets you’ll find your anxiety reduced and time spent thinking about food to be much less.
- Get A Journal, Rubber Band, Sticky Note – When I first started mindful eating I would wear a rubber band around my wrist and snap it everytime my mind started wandering to my next meal or getting depressed because of how many calories I consumed. You have to start rewiring your brain to have positive thoughts about your body and relationship with food. This took me about 6-8 months to conquer because I spent so many years with that negative voice in my head that told me I was fat and would never amount to shit. Also, keeping a quick journal of how many times a day you think about food will get you on track to thinking about other things. When negative thoughts pop into your head change it. Say something positive to yourself or write something positive. I am healthy, I had a great day at work, my husband/spouse loves me very much. A sticky note in your car works too. Little positive reminders to start rewiring the brain.
- Deep Breathing – Deep breathing and checking in with your body is another free, easy way, to stop thinking about food everyday. Everyday for 5 mins just practice deep breathing (in thru the nose and out thru the mouth), feel and think about your body. Have you really touched and given thanks to your body? Ask yourself what am I really hungry for? Lots of times it isn’t food we are after. We’re sad, angry, lonely. Recognizing what is really going on will help you address that. Start giving thanks to what is right right now. In those 5 minutes name 5 things silently or out loud that you love about your body. Maybe it’s your hair, your lips, it has to be positive. Do this daily for two months if you can. You’ll notice a major shift in your thinking
I want you to know there is hope. I’m 5’3 and at my heaviest I was 190 lbs. I never thought I was worthy of love, I thought no man will love me once he realizes I was a formerly large woman. The reality is just the opposite. Not only can most men/women relate (because they have body image issues too), but in the end it’s personality, kindness, and transparency that people fall in love with.
Mindful eating takes A LONG TIME! We are fed a bunch of bullshit from magazines and the diet industry that you can lose weight in 30 days and keep it off, you can’t! We’re also fed bullshit that you have to be a size 6 to be happy. Don’t fall for that crap. Be patient with yourself – loving yourself just the way you are takes time but NOTHING is more attractive than body confidence. I love you. You got this. xo, Frase
Here’s how I lost 60lbs