11.15.2015

Mindful Eating

When the student is ready the Teacher will appear. -The Buddha

I just finished an intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training.  Well, intensive for me.  I spent thirteen hours Saturday - Monday attending training and then needed to attend at least four yoga classes a week and complete all my homework.  I felt like I used to do a better job at this crazy juggling but maybe I didn’t.  
 
When I was in graduate school (the first time) I was able to balance work and school.  Work did not require that much intelligence, so my brain could focus on graduate school. I remember listening to lectures while running and always studying.  I lived close to work so I was able to go home and start studying right away.  T was working nights so I had the house to myself and was able to graduate in a year and a half.  I worked really hard to have my degree and was able to be eligible for the job I currently have.

Graduate school the second time was harder in a way but I still survived.  This time I was in a cohort and each term we took two classes together for a course of two years.  By then I had figured out graduate school and knew the formula of earning a passing grade.  In graduate school you need to maintain a pretty high GPA, but professors outline how you need to do that in their classes and I was pretty good at following directions. Additionally this program wanted the thesis project to be something related to work and I was able to create something that we still use today.  The harder part of this was that now I had a commute each day that was digging into my study time.  I realized very quickly that I was going to need to really focus on school and told my family to call me at Christmas.  My social life was on hold for two years, but I made it out.

Since that time a lot of things have changed in my life.  Or as my Dad would say, they have “evolved”.  And not in a bad way.  I have started teaching classes at work.  T and I found the Eastern Sierra and I started snowboarding.  I have done the Whole30 a few times and am very aware of food and how it makes me feel.  Half marathon training has been stepped up.  My sisters both live near me now and I see my Mom at least once a month for Daughter Supported Agriculture (DSA).  T tells me my life is too scheduled and compared to him it is, but it seems to be the only way I can keep balanced.  This 200 hour yoga training upset my balance and I really noticed it with my eating.

Ironic right?  That yoga training upset my balance.  I laugh a little when I think of it.  But it did.  In a big way.  I couldn’t seem to balance everything.  I work ten hour days and have a commute that can take about an hour each way.  I usually have Fridays off, but ended up working a lot of them during training.  I was studying and doing homework for teacher training, not sleeping as much, and one day noticed that all I had eaten for the last two days were powerbars.  Not good.  This happened to be the week we were talking about the “Subtle Body” in yoga and the Chakras.  I think of this as the hippie part of yoga, (not a bad thing!) just a little more mind expanding.  There was a lot of sharing during this class and I had this moment when I realized I had an awful relationship with food.  If I was not doing something where I really focussed on what was going in my body, like the Whole30, then I was
1. Not feeding my body. Or
2. Eating power bars for two days.  

It really was a shocking thought as I love food so much.  Correction, I love eating so much.  And maybe that was the problem.  
Food is fuel not therapy

Leaving class that day I was in my head a lot thinking about this topic.  There were a lot of thought that surfaced and uncomfortable things I didn’t really want to deal with.  I started writing this blog post weeks ago but have only recently been able to able to finish it.  

The answer is Mindful Eating.

I must be mindful about what I eat.  I must be mindful about eating.  I must be hyper aware of the foods around me and make a choice if I am going to eat it or not. As I realized these things, my mind told me eating was not going to be as much fun.  But my body was trying to tell me that I would be healthier and feel better.  

Mindful Eating.  It is going to be a battle for me.  For the rest of my life.  

It will be hard but I think this understanding is the first step.  Mindful eating means more than what I put in my mouth.  It is also about when I eat and what I meal-prep for myself.
A goal without a plan is just a wish

I hate to be that person who has strange dietary restrictions so I hope to be that person who eats before going out so I can eat less of the things that don’t serve me and be mindful in that way.  

Yoga Training graduation is today and I am grateful for all I learned.  Half marathon training starts tomorrow and mindful eating starts now.  

If you have any suggestions about how to be Mindful about Eating, please let me know in the comments.  The journey will be long, but worth it. At least I hope it will be....

-elizabeth

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