Sinking in

I’ve stalled a bit in my reading of Jan Chozen Bays’ Mindless Eating (I’m still idling in the chapter on the seven types of hunger). However, I’ve clearly been processing the information I’ve taken in this summer from both Mindless Eating and Marc David’s The Slow Down Diet, because I suddenly made a big surge forward in actually applying the principles of eating mindfully to my day-to-day life. This recent change happened without effort, as I haven’t been actively doing any of the exercises in the last month or so. (I imagine that this processing is like when a program is working in the background on your computer. It is indeed working, even if you aren’t aware of it.)

Now that I’m a bit more tuned in the language of the body, a few things have become crystal clear:
  1. I don’t need snacks on a regular basis. I had locked myself into a pattern of three meals and two or three snacks each day, but I’ve found in recent weeks that I can go without snacks, and even greatly delay a mealtime without suffering undue cellular hunger (i.e., I don’t get weak or shaky or headachey). My stomach may rumble, yes, but those rumblings come and go, and don’t always warrant an immediate intake of food.
  2. I do not like feeling full. Satisfied, yes. But full, no. It has become much, much easier to stop eating at around the 80 percent full point. Interestingly, yesterday I happened to eat food that was denser (i.e., more starchy vegetables and fewer fibrous vegetables), and I just did not feel good, even though I didn’t eat huge portions. I realized that although my mind was wanting autumn-type foods, my body still wants lighter, summer-type foods, because we’re still in the middle of the hottest weather we’ve had all summer!
I’ve done so well with cutting out my mid-morning snack (my stomach hardly growls at that time anymore), that I’m planning to do away with my afternoon snack. That, combined with applying the 80 percent rule to meals, should allow me to manage calories intuitively, without logging food intake and crunching numbers. While I feel that food logs and counting calories can be valuable tools, I have used them too much in the recent past (read: last summer), and burnt myself out. I know I’ll have to so some short-term food logging for at least one of my classes, which is fine, and I can see myself doing a log for a few weeks now and again to assess nutrient intake, but as a weight management tool, I’d like to do without, if at all possible.
Like many healthy changes, my attempts to put mindful eating theory into practice has had its fits and starts. But what proved to be important is that I continued to keep those theories in mind, to regularly try to apply those principles, and to not beat myself up if I didn’t put down the fork between every bite or ate part of my meal without really noticing what I was eating. Apparently, I plugged away at it enough where it has all started to gel in my mind, and is starting to become a solid habit.
Now, onto the project I mentioned yesterday. I think that it’s hard to have a serious interest in yoga without having at least a passing interest in Ayurveda (aka yoga’s sister science of medicine). I myself have a handful of books about Ayurveda on my shelves, the first coming into my possession many years ago. While I’ve read them with interest over those years, I can’t even really say I’ve dabbled in the practices. But last week, when I saw that Yoga Journal was sponsoring a 7-day Ayurvedic Fall Detox next week, I was all like “Sign me up!” I’m sort of middle-of-the road about the need for detoxing, especially if healthy eating and lifestyle practices are a daily deal, but the idea of doing a detox as I get closer to embarking on a big life transition (i.e. graduate school) strongly appeals to me. I don’t know exactly what the detox will entail (all I have so far is the shopping list and recipes), but I’m really excited! 
If you have any interest, here’s the link to sign up: http://falldetox.yogajournal.com/