Note: For more information on mindful eating, consider the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program. You can find more information here or at www.AmIHungry.com.
When I bought my ticket for last Sunday’s Chocolate Lover’s Fling, I decided that I needed a plan so that I could enjoy the four courses of gourmet chocolate desserts but also go home feeling good physically. Given that my sugar tolerance isn’t nearly what it used to be, I knew it would be a delicate balancing act.
My strategy started before I even went. I had a slightly smaller breakfast than usual, then an earlier and lighter lunch. By the time I arrived at the event, I was hungry, but not too hungry. I also felt relieved knowing that we could take leftovers home, since it meant I didn’t feel compelled to eat everything on the spot to “get my money’s worth.”
Still, the temptation to overindulge was strong, because the chocolates looked so beautiful and had mouth-watering descriptions. Here are a few examples:
Plus, most other people not only ate everything they got served but got seconds from the chocolatiers. Still, I had no interest in following that example because it would only result in me feeling miserable.
Instead, I took tiny bites of everything I got, but no more. If I loved something, I put it in my take-home box. If I didn’t, I left it on my plate to be thrown out. It helped, too, that our guidelines for judging the samples encouraged mindful eating. They suggested we focus on appearance, creativity, texture, flavor, and desirability, and that we cleanse our palettes between bites (I ended up drinking quite a bit of water this way).
After two hours and four courses (each course having 4 or 5 chocolates), I reached my sugar limit. I didn’t feel badly, but my stomach told me very clearly that the next time I ate, it should be something lighter and healthier. To others, my restraint might have looked like control, but it wasn’t. I simply no longer felt any desire to eat them.
In fact, I didn’t feel like eating anything right away. Once I got home, I instead had some peppermint tea, went for a walk to enjoy the gorgeous spring afternoon, and then waited until I felt truly hungry again before dinner.
My approach worked. I fully enjoyed the chocolate and event, but I also had a lovely evening at home, feeling good physically and emotionally. Plus, I got to savor bites of chocolate throughout the week, all the while remembering how much money it raised for a great local organization (SARSSM – Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine). All in all, I couldn’t have been more pleased, and I will happily consider going again in the future.