Use Meditation To Improve
Your Relationship With Food
By Vickie Champion
After the holidays, many of us come through a period of sugar highs, feeling bloated, tighter clothes and most disturbing of all, that daily "guilt." Year after year it's the same: starting in mid-November and gaining momentum as the weeks pass by, we involve ourselves in an extremely painful relationship with food. It's the kind of relationship where we sacrifice foods we enjoy, feel guilty when we "give in", or become constantly obsessed about when, what, and how much we get to eat next.
Mary Kelso struggled with a painful relationship with food ever since she can remember. "It seems like the holidays intensify the battle," Kelso says. "I try to keep away from forbidden foods, but feel deprived when I do. When I can't resist, I feel guilty."
Many of us wrestle with these same issues. After a month and a half of this escalating torture, we resolve that this craziness has to cease. Somehow we've got to get a grip and stop this food frenzy.
Then, like every year in the past, we begin to fix the pain in our relationship with food by trying to restrain ourselves even more. We buck-le down harder and enforce our willpower, by limiting what we eat, how much we eat or when we eat it. This is trying to control the pain in our relationship with food, not end it.
Use the beginning of 1999 to approach the food problem differently. Instead of controlling the problem, release it. Learn to let go of the constant battle between sacrifice and guilt. Mediation techniques can release us from the pain in this relationship. Here are some suggestions.
SLOW DOWN WHEN EATING
We often believe SPEED is everything. The faster we can put it down, the quicker we can get some more. It's like we're on automatic pilot, not noticing much about the event at all. This is true, especially when we find ourselves binging on our favorite chocolate ice cream. The amount and speed are a lot more important than the experience.
Instead, try to slow down enough to enjoy the event. Consider these:
- Take time to relax before eating.
- Breathe deeply three times before eating.
- Take a drink between bites.
- Chew the food completely.
How many times have we thought about everything but what we're doing at the moment. Eating is no exception. We catch ourselves concentrating on how to solve the drama of the day, judging what others should be doing, or even plotting what we will eat for our next meal.
The object is to enjoy the moment, the experience of eating. In other words,
concentrate on eating when your eating. Some ideas to get in the "moment" are:
- Eliminate distractions, such as the TV.
- Make an effort to taste every bite, noticing how each food tastes different. Some might be bitter, sweet, bland, or spicy.
- Take time to smell the food.
- Focus on one bite at a time. Notice the combination on your fork or the size of the bite.
- Experiment with changing routine ways of eating. Maybe hold the fork differently, sit in a different spot, try foods by themselves or put them with other foods.
WATCHING THOSE THOUGHTS
When we place importance on controlling the pain with food and not releasing it, we put very little attention to our thoughts. In order to get rid of this nagging misery, we have to look at what we're thinking. Many times we keep painful problems in order to punish ourselves, to vent anger, or numb what's really troubling us.
Some meditation techniques for releasing the pain include:
- Begin to recognize the thoughts right before going to the refrigerator, while eating, and immediately after. Don't judge them, just recognize what they are and let them pass through.
- Then, as soon as possible, return to focusing on being in the moment. This could be concentrating on preparing the food with love, enjoying the event of eating, or noticing how a full stomach feels.
OCCUPYING THE MIND WITH AFFIRMATIONS
Most of us don't realize that our thinking is the source of all our pain. Every thought causes an effect. After letting those limiting thoughts pass through, we can replace them with thoughts that are unlimited and loving. Some recommendations for affirmations might be:
- I now prepare and eat my food with love.
- God fills me up, not food. Nothing I eat can affect me in any way.
- I no longer punish myself with food.
- I'm not a body, I'm spirit.
These simple meditation techniques improve our relationship with food by enriching our eating experience and increasing our spiritual awareness. "Since I started practicing these techniques, my relationship with food has changed dramatically," Kelso says. "I concentrate on having a good time eating, not what I should or should not put into my mouth. It's funny, because I'm enjoying it more, I am also finding myself eating less."
Vickie Champion presents workshops nationally and does personal consulting. She is also the author of the book "Change Your Relationship With Food", and the workbook/tape set "Soar Above The Battlefield", which are based on concepts related to A Course In Miracles. For a copy of the book, check your local bookstore. For information on all products, consulting, or to get a schedule and location of workshops, call toll free (888) 820-5745.
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