Timeless You: Mindful Eating

My relationship with food has been a toxic one of dependency and regret. One of my earliest memories of food is one in which I’m home alone one evening, bent over with my head in the fridge. I’m biting off mouthfuls of sausage and tearing pieces of cold bread into my mouth. I’m rushed and nervous but I don’t remember being hungry; I just remember feeling the need to swallow as much as I could before my parents came home. All of the sudden, I get scared upright as my father walks into the kitchen, sees me and laughs at the realization that he’s caught me.

I still fall into emotional eating patterns, but I try to make sure at least one other person is present when I do so that at least I’m not hiding when I do it; the need to hide would mean that I’m doing something wrong and I want to at least pretend I’m acting with accountability.

Some know me as a health freak who eats chia seeds and leaves of dinosaur kale dusted with spirulina. Others know me as the inner child deprived of the joy of a normal meal and stuffed with guilt and regret. It’s fair to say that learning mindful eating is turning out to be a lifelong lesson for me.

When I was pregnant, my doctor was constantly telling me I was dehydrated. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was always carrying around a bottle of water with me, sipping from it throughout the day. Now that I’m nursing, I keep drinking, and drinking some more, hoping I’m hydrating enough. But I don’t know what dehydration feels like. I know what they tell you dehydration feels like, but it’s so similar to other feelings (like hunger or headaches) that I haven’t figured out how to tell when my body is telling me it’s thirsty.

I recently started drinking alkalinized water (Kangen water) because of all the health benefits associated with reducing the levels of acid in the body. It’s delicious, much easier to drink, and so thirst quenching that I’m hoping it’ll help me incorporate more water into my diet.

During a yoga class, a teacher was once talking about the signs of dehydration. She said that if your tongue is dry and feels stuck to the roof of your mouth, you’re dehydrated. She also said that if you have an acidic taste in your mouth, your body needs more water. I often experience both of these symptoms of dehydration and find that remembering to check the state of my mouth and tongue is an easy way for me to tell if I need to take a gulp or two.

Essentially, what you see written below the video is what was said in the video. Does that sound stimulating to you? And when you consider that there are only a few paragraphs of large text on each page, it’s even more damaging to the learning experience to simply reiterate the same content. I’m beginning to wonder what the value of this course is. Perhaps it would have been more enriching to buy the book (or a book) instead.

This is such an eye-opener! I thought you’re supposed to eat when your gauge is at or around 6.

As I observe my reaction to this scale, I realize that if I imagine myself experiencing hunger at an intensity of 2 or 3, I feel fear. I am panicked when I imagine experiencing the 1 of being famished. And the range of 4 to 6 feels fleeting, difficult to balance, almost as if it’s the quickest to pass once it arrives so hunger must be around the corner.

Fear of being hungry….huh.

Course 5 complete. Final thoughts: This really wasn’t the most informative of courses in this program but setting aside the lack of content and lackluster course design, I can’t ignore that I’ve discovered something new about myself. I didn’t know I had a fear of hunger. I discovered a few years ago that my mother is very conscious of her fear of hunger, but I didn’t think I was like her at all from this perspective. Where does it come from? Why the irrational fear of a state that I can alleviate in an instant with the bounty of food available to me at any time?

As I write this, my stomach is growling. It’s just past 7:30am, I’ve been up since a few minutes before 6:00am and my body is ready for food. Now comes decision time: what do I put into my body first today? I know that if I have carbohydrates first thing, I feel tired and rundown all morning and my appetite just seems to grow. That’s not something I want to experience today, especially given that I am already nursing a headache and a dry mouth. I know that if I eat meat and vegetables first thing, I am able to maintain a feeling of satiation until lunch and experience no dip in energy, however it can sometimes give me heartburn.

I’ve been making smoothies recently (packed with lots of greens and minimal fruits), and they’ve been wonderfully quenching and filling, albeit for a short time. I also find that my body purges fluids much faster if I have a smoothie compared to just drinking a glass of water. I’m really enjoying experimenting with cleansing and detoxifying smoothie recipes and actually have a new one I’d like to try this morning. Only thing is, I’m the only one awake in the house and the Vitamix sounds like a plane landing on tarmac. The peace of the solitude of early morning is priceless, so I’ll let my hunger dip to a frightening 1 and see if I can curb that irrational fear through some much welcome introspection and self-observation.


  1. Teta Pisana says:

    “Sensitivity to thirst has diminished with age” … This is my case and even if I force myself, I know I don’t drink enough but also know I’ll be trying to improve …

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