March Mindfulness Challenge: Week 1 (3/1-3/7)

baconslave
baconslave Posts: 6,869 Member
Welcome!

Life is...well....it's LIFE, isn't it? It can be good. It can also be busy, frantic, and sometimes, downright chaotic. We are pulled so many directions but so many situations and distractions. When do we have time to breathe, let alone live in the moment?

So this month, I think it would be excellent to challenge ourselves to incorporate mindfulness into our journey to health. Plus, it works with the whole alliteration thing. :wink:

Morwenna Ferrier (writer for the Guardian) defines the new fad-term "mindfulness" this way: "The whole ethos of mindfulness is to encourage people to live in the moment. The theory goes that we are so busy trying to block out past worries and anticipate future ones that we rarely concentrate on enjoying what we are doing at the precise moment we are doing it. Devotees claim mindfulness can be applied to everything from walking and running to sex and eating." http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/23/mindful-eating-how-to-get-more-from-your-meals

But I challenge that it isn't only about enjoyment. It's about AWARENESS. That's how we diagnose the elusive issue we carry, the sneaky ones that fly under our radar, but continue to throw a wrench into our efforts. So much about success in weight loss and health is about healing our dysfunctional relationships with food and other things in our lives, so we are free from the impetus of stress and emotions that often spurs us to sabotage ourselves.

So in that vein, the challenge is to practice some form of mindfulness by pausing and observing what happens in our heads and bodies when we eat or exercise, to be aware. And maybe then we can enjoy our journey more and discover any hang-ups we've missed and lock them down.

How? I've created a list of links. Some repeat the theme but add something. There a couple that apply to mindfulness in general terms. But understanding the concept can help but aide us in applying it to our reason for being here on MFP.

Start with this, garnered from zenhabits.com
Benefits?
Reduced over eating. It’s been a while now since I went to bed feeling bloated and over stuffed. Which is great in itself but also means that my ‘muffin top’ is pretty much gone when I wear my favorite jeans.

Increased enjoyment of food. As a food scientist, I’ve always considered myself a big fan of eating. Now that I’m on the path to mastering the art of mindful eating, I am finding a new found respect for food and am gaining far more pleasure from meal times.

Improved digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth with the action of saliva. If food isn’t chewed properly it means that there’s more work for the rest of your digestion system. I may be imagining this, but I think I’ve also noticed I have less gas now that I’m eating mindfully.

Being satisfied with less. Linked with reduced over eating, the real benefit here is being able to trust yourself to feel satisfied after one or two squares of chocolate so there is no temptation to scoff the whole block. Suddenly there’s no need to deny yourself the occasional treat which makes for a far healthier relationship with food.
Ready to change the way you interact with food?

How to master the art of mindful eating:
1. Start small. Like all new habits, it’s best to set realistic expectations. Choose one meal or snack each day and commit to focusing on mindful eating at that time.

2. Stop multitasking at meal times. It’s really difficult to focus on eating if you’re doing other things. Set aside time for eating without other entertainment.

3. Only eat at the table. Another way to minimize mindless munching is to get into the habit of only eating when you are sitting down and able to give the food your full attention. No more snacking on the run.
4. Appreciate the appearance. While we’ve all drooled over gorgeous food porn in magazines or online, sometimes we forget about the beauty of the food we are about to eat. Taking the time to notice sets the scene for mindful eating.
5. Focus on each mouthful. Think about the flavour, texture and even the sound of the food in your mouth. Focus on how much you like, or dislike these sensations.
6. Chew. While it can be overkill to go to the monastic extreme of 100 bites per mouthful, make sure you chew your food enough so that it is well broken down before you swallow.

7.Use cutlery and put it down between mouthfuls. It’s much easier to take smaller portions when using a knife and fork. Of course if you feel like you’re having a ridiculous Seinfeld moment eating a chocolate bar with utensils, then skip this step but do put the bar down in between bites so you can focus.

8. Talk and share. One of the joys of eating is sharing a meal with loved ones. It can be challenging to incorporate mindfulness in a social situation but not impossible. Turn the focus of the conversation onto the meal while you are actually eating. Share what you are experiencing in terms of flavours and textures, likes and dislikes. At first this may seem a little weird but trust me, you’ll soon find yourself having fun with it.

9. Go for quality not quantity. By choosing smaller amounts of the best food you can afford, you will not only enjoy it more, you’re far more likely to be satisfied without having to over eat.

10. Make time to prepare your own meals, preferably from fresh ingredients. The cooking process can be as relaxing and enjoyable as eating if you let it. For me, the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what has gone into my food makes any hassle worthwhile.
http://zenhabits.net/mindful-eating/


The links that follow might be helpful. I can't speak as to the helpfulness of the podcasts. Yet. I'm going to carve the time to investigate them and will nix them if they aren't really relevant. Please do share any links you personally come across, and I'll add them to the running list.

http://zenhabits.net/mindful-eating/
http://stress.about.com/od/dietandsuppliments/a/mindful_eating.htm
http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/a/mindfulness.htm
http://jamesclear.com/stay-focused
http://jamesclear.com/zanshin
http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/11/29/magic-of-mindfulness/
https://www.bulletproofexec.com/rick-hanson-forgetfulness-mindfulness-techniques-hardwiring-happiness-243/


I'd like to give a shout-out to @KnitOrMiss for helping me gather some links.

The weekly thread links will be also added to the challenge sticky at the top of the group for easy reference should it get buried.

So. Let us know where you'd like to apply mindfulness this month.
«13

Replies

  • fangirlish
    fangirlish Posts: 100 Member
    I love zen habits! It's the most amazing site and has really helped me in many ways, not just with eating, but that's a great start. Love this monthly challenge. Along with my usual goal to lose 2 pounds this month, I will also focus on the mindfulness and awareness of how food and exercise really affect me, mentally and physically.
  • bnef1
    bnef1 Posts: 2 Member
    Thank you, very motivational. I am new here, only 3 days out with this lifestyle personally but have been cooking for and eating with my husband for his 4 months of a keto life. I love the food and strongly believe this is a healthy way of life. My goal is to be focused and I feel mindfulness matters in this regard. I have not historically been mindful of my eating or health, and it has not been healthy to live that way. I will enjoy this challenge of a mindful March, it is probably the best start I can have.
  • baconslave
    baconslave Posts: 6,869 Member
    For those who exercise:
    Are You Exercising Mindfully?

    I ironically got this in my email this morning after I posted the challenge. :lol:
  • dasher602014
    dasher602014 Posts: 1,992 Member
    Thanks! This is really timely for me.

    This week I am going to keep it simple. I am going to stop multitasking while eating. Hard one for me because except for dinner, my husband and I rarely eat together and he enjoys reading while eating. I have picked up the habit; I check MFP groups while eating breakfast. I am going to read only while drinking my tea or coffee and focus on food while eating.
  • elize7
    elize7 Posts: 1,087 Member
    cant wait to delve into the links. mindfully, of course! a big thing for me is to sit/slow down while eating! AND, chewing-not wolfing. this is a timely topic for me as i feel my resolve and focus shredding and tattering at the edges... very grateful for this challenge.
    along with being mindful of eating topics, i feel that more life changes are facing me in the near future. as i am a "fiercely resist change" kind of person at first - this triggers anxiety in me which often goes hand in hand with binge like eating choices. i am going to try to keep watch on this and make thoughtful, timely choices rather than knee-jerk reactions, both in eating and in making life decisions...
    this time, i have a very small but critical bit of financial back up, which i am hoping to be cognizant of if blindsided, and which i hope will help to keep anxiety levels lowered.
    just want to have a little fun through it all... so i guess it would be good to be mindful of that.

    mindful reports will be like this:

    food: healthy growth related
    change: anxiety level
    daily fun: am i feeling/having it?

    this is going to be a great month fitness pals!
  • mlinton_mesapark
    mlinton_mesapark Posts: 517 Member
    I love this idea, but I've zealously overcommitted to challenges in the past, plus I'm just getting restarted with LCHF, so I want to keep it very simple this time:

    I'll commit to reading the weekly threads, so that I am steeped in your discussions and...mindful of mindfulness. If I read some of the links, post a time or two, or put down the electronics during meals, so much the better. But my only goal will be to read the weekly posts. By Friday of each week. Looking forward to following your progress!
  • SamandaIndia
    SamandaIndia Posts: 1,577 Member
    Mindful eating is a great reminder. I once did a coaching session where I ate a raisin in a total of 3 mins. Yes one raisin. From feel it, smell it, roll it in mouth (no crushing), taste it, feel texture with tongue, crush it, taste that, slowly chew it to swollow it took minutes. Brightest most amazing raisin ever. Easy drift towards inhaling food instead. I eat slower than my husband but will enjoy this mindful march. Great idea!
  • emilybeaver
    emilybeaver Posts: 365 Member
    I will have to say since starting this WEO I eat slower, use cutlery, and I feel so full and satisfied after not eating a lot. And I do say even if I do slip up a bit (which I did a lot this past weekend) you best believe I ate that ice cream SLOW and it tasted wonderful.
  • Sunny_Bunny_
    Sunny_Bunny_ Posts: 7,141 Member
    Maybe I need to work on this with my newest attempt at being active! Trying to walk and jog part of it at least 4 times a week, now that the weather will be getting better. Though, still too cold for me. I'm committed to sucking it up! Or going to the gym. Either one.
    Trying to run a little, if I didn't totally focus on breathing and keeping my pace slow and easy, I quickly felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. It's surprisingly hard to run at a slow pace... Like, you have to take really long strides...
    Kinda weird. Lol
    Maybe some mindfulness will help me with that.
  • Deena_Bean
    Deena_Bean Posts: 906 Member
    All around mindfulness is always a goal of mine. Great book: The Power of Now. It's interesting...I could take or leave some of it, but overall I think it's really valid. Living in the moment is key! It's also a struggle sometimes, especially when things aren't going as well as you'd like. I have definitely improved my outlook and internal struggles by focusing on the concepts in that book - and also the simple quote "Not my circus, not my monkeys" - this is a life saver! If I start to get annoyed with how people are doing something, I just remind myself of that little quote. :)
  • clblewis
    clblewis Posts: 34 Member
    Thank you for the links! Looking forward to reading more of them. :)
  • KnitOrMiss
    KnitOrMiss Posts: 10,104 Member
    @baconslave - you're welcome... All I did was send you the equivalent of newspaper clippings I'd kept!! LOL

    I LOVE the idea of this challenge so much. Honestly, it's one of the first ones I've been excited about in a long while.

    I have two goals.

    1) I am going to aim for 80% compliance on getting up at 5 am again on work days. It allows me to have more functional, start off on the right foot/mindset kind of mornings. I'm not a morning person so this is a big stretch for me, and it creates a mid-morning tiredness I don't like, so that generally means I have to be mindful about going to bed early enough and setting myself up for good sleep. I really like the Sleep Time app (it's the free, knock-off version of the SleepCycle App that @Sunny_Bunny_ recommended last week, and I've been LOVING it... Amazing how much difference it makes about waking you...)...so I think it will help with this.

    2) I am currently audio-reading "The Magic Art of Tidying Up." I want to finish this book and work fully on developing my clear visual image of the life I want to have, and all the whys behind it. This is the first task assigned, and I'm ready to get discarding, so I have to get with the program to get this mess on the road. I would like to have my visualization done and my discarding phase started before the end of this month...

    Looking forward to reading and re-reading the links above (on the James Clear ones, make sure you follow all of his hyperlinks in the articles to the related articles! I went down a very educational rabbit hole yesterday!).
  • baconslave
    baconslave Posts: 6,869 Member
    I listened to the Tim Ferris podcast. Short and sweet. Brought up a few ideas to implement. I'm going to implement a Jar of Awesome in my house.

    I started listening to the Bulletproof one but got interrupted. The guy is very sciency and gets down into brain mechanics, I'll have to finish it tomorrow. It's enlightening but something you really need to focus to listen to and understand. And the kids aren't going to let me do that right now.

    Thanks for the tip, Knit. I love a good rabbit hole.


    So for me: I always apply mindfulness in my workouts. It just kind of happened that way. I homeschool 4 very precocious and energetic kids. So workouts are my meditation. I'm refreshed and grounded after. I really should do them in the morning, but I don't have enough time. Perhaps 2 tabata rounds will get me centered. That's 8 minutes of HIIT. Enough to get the blood flowing and to clear my mind but not too long to impinge on the morning routine too much. Still pondering that one.

    But I need to do more mindful eating and maybe that will help me with satiety a bit. I'm busy and preoccupied by one thing or another and therefore inhale my food. This leaves my satiety reflexes wondering what the heck happened to the food. They blinked and missed it. :lol: So no eating while webbing or while cleaning up the kitchen. And remind myself to eat slowly and chew more.
  • macchiatto
    macchiatto Posts: 2,892 Member
    Interesting! Much food for thought here ... I need to figure out what I want my goals to be this month.

    @KnitorMiss I loved that book. I still need to finish tidying up though; I got about halfway through this fall/winter but it's been a while since I worked on it again.
  • Time2LoseWeightNOW
    Time2LoseWeightNOW Posts: 1,727 Member
    Hello to everyone!! It's my 1st time looking at the challenges,but just by seeing the top 3 links, I can tell this is what I need badly. lol I would love to jump in, even though I am still
    feeling my way around.
    Thanks, Time2
  • Deena_Bean
    Deena_Bean Posts: 906 Member
    I've read the links and they are pretty interesting. I'm listening to the podcast in the background now.

    I think in terms of mindfulness the biggest help for me is going to be getting my bootie out of bed by 5:30. I've been inching in that direction, but I haven't been able to really nail it down. I don't like getting up early, but it is helpful since that's when I work out....I hate rushing in the mornings to be to work on time. Gotta fix that...
  • KnitOrMiss
    KnitOrMiss Posts: 10,104 Member
    Deena_Bean wrote: »
    I've read the links and they are pretty interesting. I'm listening to the podcast in the background now.

    I think in terms of mindfulness the biggest help for me is going to be getting my bootie out of bed by 5:30. I've been inching in that direction, but I haven't been able to really nail it down. I don't like getting up early, but it is helpful since that's when I work out....I hate rushing in the mornings to be to work on time. Gotta fix that...

    @Deena_Bean Try the SleepCycle app @Sunny_Bunny_ recommended or the free variation @SleepTime... They make getting up easier by using your restful cycles to wake you at the best time...
  • glossbones
    glossbones Posts: 1,064 Member
    Happy to say that, on the way back to the office from an aggravating lunch, I was tempted to get back to the office and load up on chocolate. Despite not being happy at the service of the restaurant, though, my stomach was full. So I came back and had a black coffee, and refilled my water bottle. Trying to listen to my true satiety levels is something I have definitely been trying to work on.
  • Deena_Bean
    Deena_Bean Posts: 906 Member
    KnitOrMiss wrote: »
    Deena_Bean wrote: »
    I've read the links and they are pretty interesting. I'm listening to the podcast in the background now.

    I think in terms of mindfulness the biggest help for me is going to be getting my bootie out of bed by 5:30. I've been inching in that direction, but I haven't been able to really nail it down. I don't like getting up early, but it is helpful since that's when I work out....I hate rushing in the mornings to be to work on time. Gotta fix that...

    @Deena_Bean Try the SleepCycle app @Sunny_Bunny_ recommended or the free variation @SleepTime... They make getting up easier by using your restful cycles to wake you at the best time...

    On it.
    glossbones wrote: »
    Happy to say that, on the way back to the office from an aggravating lunch, I was tempted to get back to the office and load up on chocolate. Despite not being happy at the service of the restaurant, though, my stomach was full. So I came back and had a black coffee, and refilled my water bottle. Trying to listen to my true satiety levels is something I have definitely been trying to work on.

    This has been a battle for me, but I'm happy to say I'm getting SO much better at it...and that thrills me :)
  • SamandaIndia
    SamandaIndia Posts: 1,577 Member
    Working my way down the list. It highlights strength in coping with the boredom after initial euphoria of starting something such as a diet: i like this:

    From stayfocussed......

    If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20 pounds might be necessary. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently.

    If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want.

    In other words…

    Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.