Mindful Eating

I decided to change it up a bit today. Instead of a recipe, a mindful exercise that I complete often. When we are around a person regularly, our mannerisms and habits tend to be shared. I think everyone has noticed themselves doing or saying something exactly the way their best friend, spouse, mother, or favorite TV character (from the show they have been binge watching for a shameful amount of hours) does. My husband David is the calmest, most go-with-the-flow person I have ever known (maybe in the universe). Its amazing really, especially to a high-strung, ultra high maintenance gal like myself (does it make it better if I can freely admit it?). Very shortly after we started dating I noticed that driving and competition (specifically basketball), morphed David into a normal human who gets annoyed and briefly looses his lack of impulse control–something I RARELY ever get to see out of him. In these rare moments of frustration, he will not yell, but instead exclaim, “What a joke!” Basketball game going badly: “What a joke!”. Someone cuts him off in traffic: “What a joke!”. So naturally… ME (now that I’ve lived with him for 5 years, but MUCH more often than him because more than just two things in this world frustrate me): “What a joke!” My point is, things rub off on people. Especially kids. I have always had this really strange(-ish) habit of making up words… and names. Years ago, when something was awkward I would say, “squeeb”. Almost like a code word, but more like a really weird thing that I am now mildly embarrassed of. At times, even now as a full-blown adult, I make up weird little sayings, or I’ll call Dru “Susan” and we’ll crack up together. I didn’t realize until he started talking A TON that this can be confusing to a child who is learning hundreds of new words. To give you a feel for what I’m talking about, when he surprises me instead of saying something normal like, “oh wow!”, I resort to “Holy Bajoli!”. Say he eats everything on his plate super quick, I immediately say, ” sheesh loo-eesh!”. This has resulted in Dru’s first reaction after while startled or surprised being, “Bajoli!”. Or say, like today, it’s super hot outside so he will yell out, “loooooo-eesh!”. It’s hilarious, adorable, and (a bit) concerning. We’ll work on more normal exclamations, but now that I’ve overly explained that what we say and do impacts the lives of others, lets get to it.

What does this have to do with eating habits? Everything. This connection, however simple, was an absolute game changer for me. I am in no way a perfect model to my child of someone who has a perfect relationship with food. However, becoming more mindful of the habits I do have has changed and empowered the way I eat and live. Consider these questions and their relation to your spouse, or your kids:

What do I eat most regularly?– When you reach for a snack, what do you choose? Are the majority of the foods in your pantry whole foods that nourish your body, or processed foods that temporarily satiate your cravings? When you consider what to eat for a meal do you mindfully choose ingredients that will benefit your body, or do you mainly focus on the taste alone? Are you willing to try new things when they are offered, or do you refuse if you don’t think it seems like something you normally like?

When do I eat? – Do you eat regular meals? Do you eat a breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you skip meals? Do you snack throughout the day leaving little room for a meal? Do you eat late at night? Do you often eat while running out the door, or in the car? Do you rest and enjoy the things you eat?

Where do I eat? – At the table, in front of the TV, scrolling through your social media?

Why do I eat? – Do you eat to fuel your body, to give it all the nutrients it needs to run most efficiently? Do you eat until you feel uncomfortably full? Do you eat when you’re bored? Do you eat when you are hungry, or do you eat when you just feel like eating? Do you like to think about eating, or does eating feel shameful making you feel guilty about what or how much you ate? Do you live to eat, or do you eat to live?

Your answers to these questions are shaping your children’s answers to these questions. I consider my own answers regularly because they help me understand what I can do to better improve Dru’s eating habits (more than just learning to cook better). Understanding that our relationship with food and our habits directly affect the people we love can be transformative. It has been for me.

cute-kid-eating-a-strawberry-in-the-summer

(Who knows, you may start using an obscene amount of parenthesis after reading this to mirror my (unnecessary) behavior. Ha! I’ll act like my lack of grammatical regard was all to prove my point…)

1 Comment

  1. by Michelle J on June 21, 2016  5:33 am Reply

    Lauren, I absolutely know what you're talking about. I'm like a sponge that soaks up whatever and whoever is around me and what they're habits are. Thanks for sharing your insight. It's so exciting to read everything you have to say. You're a natural at this!

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