Why You Don’t Need to Earn the Right to Eat

If you ever use fancy exercise equipment, you can find out how many calories you burned while exercising. And these days, you don’t even need to go that far. You can check online or use apps on your phone. But a strange thing can happen when you focus on those numbers. You can start to feel like you’re exercising to earn the right to eat. It doesn’t help that our culture reinforces this. It’s not as obvious when you’re thinner, but if you’re fat… it’s all over. I even remember thinking for myself when I was heavy that I shouldn’t be hungry. I’d stare down at my fat stomach and wonder how I could need to eat when I was so big. After all, my body certainly had enough fuel. It didn’t need me to

3 Reasons Why You Can’t Fail at Mindful Eating

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Failure is not an option.” Usually that means success is so critical that failing will cause something catastrophic to happen – so it’s best not to even think about failing. But mindful eating isn’t one of those things. The world will not end if you eat mindlessly. What do I mean, then, when I say you can’t fail at mindful eating? Defining failure First, it helps to consider how failure is defined. When I checked online, I found a few ways of considering it: Not being successful at achieving a goal Not doing what’s expected Not functioning correctly These all seem to have a very black and white focus. Either a goal is met, or it’s not. Or perhaps you might

What It Means to Have a Relationship to Food – Part 2

Last week I talked about how being on a diet has similarities to being in a bad relationship. This week I want to talk about how mindful eating helps change that to a committed, long-term relationship to food. The Honeymoon Phase When you first learn about mindful eating, it’s a welcome relief. Finally, an approach that’s notgoing to boss you around! No one’s going to tell you that you can’t eat ice cream or cookies. That you have to avoid sugar or carbs. That you can only eat at certain times. Or that you need to bring a traveling food scale or measuring cups everywhere you go. When you visit a friend or go out to eat, you can have whatever you want. Maybe that’s veggies and hummus… or mayb

What It Means to Have a Relationship to Food – Part 1

I talk a lot about the importance of having a healthy relationship to food, but what does that really mean? What does it mean to have a relationship to food at all? Food is more than fuel As I mentioned in a recent post, it’s important to remember that food is more than fuel. At least for most of us. It’s connection… comfort… pleasure… security… stability. It doesn’t take much to recognize this. Simply think of your favorite food, or favorite meal, and why you liked it so much. The simple fact that we have favorites means it’s about more than what gives us calories that we convert into energy. Food becomes an expression of what we enjoy and care about. We spend a lot of time with it, and it

Reflections on Being at Baxter State Park and Recognizing Limits

I recently returned from my annual trip to Baxter State Park. And as always, the visit gives me an opportunity to confront my limits – and, if I wish, to push past them. On my first visit, at age 10, Mom was the one who pushed me, getting me up the Abol Trail to the top of Mt. Katahdin when I didn’t think I could do it. I subsisted mainly on peanut M&M’s and grapes on that hike. I’m sure I ate more than that, but I definitely wasn’t carrying much food or water. (I might not have been carrying any of my own.) Plus, my 10-year-old body had the resiliency of youth. I don’t think I suffered any bad side effects from that hike. I was left only with a feeling of pride in my accomplishment. This ki

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