My Mindful Eating Experience

My biggest issue was remembering to sit down and think about what I’m eating and not default to eating on the fly.  Previous to the 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge my “food time” was also car time because car time was the only time I had for anything.  That was before I realized that I have to create the time for me!  So this was a new way of reframing my thoughts and we no longer eat in the van!  Meals are back at the table, less stressful and all about family time.

One big change was that I gave up donuts this entire challenge which has saved a significant amount of money but also my body has felt so great these 30 days because of all the changes!   Now I can sit and eat frozen yogurts with the kids and actually enjoy it and the time I spend with them instead of being on a stressful, train-like schedule.

This mindful eating challenge helped put my body back on a clock so I’m on a regular schedule.  It’s not only the reset of the mind but also the reset of the body schedule.  And now my body is set for a meal time schedule too like it was after surgery.  And now I have time to work out and time to paint (which I enjoy, it’s a stress reliever).  If I deviate from my meal schedule then  I’m off the rest of the day.  Mental capacity is just as important as everything else.

Everyone can agree that it’s very difficult to all of a sudden just change the way you eat pre-surgery.  In a perfect world, if you can do this challenge  BEFORE surgery then you become aware of  your personal pitfalls because  you know “this is a trigger for me” or “when I get stressed this is what I reach for.”  Then you can start to implement  the skills from the challenge to work around your personal struggles and establish healthier habits that work for you, not your doctor or dietitian or other health care practitioner.  But you.  It can be very personal and individual and a game-changer.  Even though I had surgery over two years on June 23, 2015,  some of my new healthier habits got left behind.  It’s called life.

The reality is you don’t break your entire life’s habits – years of bad habits in 2 years.  I’ve spent so much time eating and that’s how I become 300+ pounds.  For me food was fun and entertaining.  This Mindful Eating Challenge put me back on the even keel and helped me connect the dots of “am I truly hungry or is this emotionally related?”  Eating my emotions is so natural to do because that’s what I’ve done for so long before surgery.  But once I did this challenge I would physically stop, incorporate the daily challenge and the light bulb moment is “Oh, I get it now!”  Because the habits are deeply ingrained,  we all need to be constantly going back to re-learning the basics and what you are taught in preparing for surgery (if you did the work).

The daily challenges are great reminders of helping you recognize why did I get off track?  And helps with your level of awareness and understanding that more than likely you are dealing with symptoms of a problem.  The problem is my association with food.  If you can’t deal with the mindful part of this, you won’t succeed with or without surgery.   Unfortunately a lot of weight loss surgery patients are not or weren’t taught how to eat before much less after surgery.  The 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge is  a great way to reset your metabolic clock without the societal propaganda and takes you back to instinctual eating which is the right way to eat.

I’ve worked one-on-one with Jennifer during my WLS journey and what I really liked is that she never talked down to or shamed anyone.  Ever.  Not only did she do the challenge with us, but also shared her struggles too which helped the rest of us feel like there is always something to be working on.  Her mission is to empower and motivate you to establish a healthier relationship with your body and food so you can feel good in your skin..

I feel like I have a much healthier relationship w food and healthier relationship w my emotions because I am not running to the cookie to cope w the emotion.  Now I’m dealing with the emotion instead of ignoring it and doing a line of oreo’s.  I recognize in the moment that there is something bigger at play.   Instead of reaching for junk, I can tune into my body and interpret what it needs or wants instead of defaulting to my old habits.  And then I’ve created healthier choices based on what I’m feeling.  Then I eat and can move on with my day instead of feeling guilty for eating what I did.  This is a huge deal for me.

You have to be brave because it’s not pretty to look at your current habits.  When you look at the intense emotions that drive you to food it’s usually something very deep and very personal.  The last thing you want to do is investigate it but you really have to.  The reality is 90% of the time you make it worse off in your head than it really is!  Stress causes hunger for me and when I did the sh*t I clearly did not want to do the hunger went away.  So I  This is another huge deal for me.

During this challenge I was able to identify how my own personal mind and body operates with regards to food.  Instead of eating because I was head hungry, I was able to teach my brain how to eat because I was physically hungry and my body needed fuel.

The bottom line is this:  Insurance makes you jump through the surgery hoops but doesn’t emphasize the most crucial part of your weight loss surgery success… the nutrition piece.  This is the missing link to help you build tools and skills to have a healthy relationship with food and eating which is absolutely crucial for long-term success and I wish you the best of luck and hope it is as life-changing as it was for me.  You have to be brave, but no one else is going to do this important work for you so you may as well do it now and start to have a healthier relationship with yourself.  It’s time well-spent and you deserve it.  We all do!

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