You cannot have two thoughts at once. Trust me, I have tried to defy this law, but I find it to be unassailable. While I am busy thinking about FOOD, I cannot also be thinking about what I want to accomplish in life. I also can’t be tuned into the thoughts, words or feelings of my husband, my kids, my co-workers or my friends. I find this upsetting, especially because I actually care more about those people than food. Does anyone else have this kind of close and distracting relationship with food? I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about it lately since being on vacation (a time when I suspend my food rules.)
Everyone who knows the Handel Method® knows the power of a good rule to take over the mind. My food rules spare me from thinking about food because they tell me what to eat and not to eat. Without them, my mind becomes a little irresponsible. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, as they say! And frankly, I don’t think we are aware of just how much mental energy (aka thoughts) we do waste thinking about things like our waists. And when our next meal is. And will it taste good. And what about that coffee? Or alcoholic beverage? Even those of us who are very health conscious (sometimes especially those) just spend way too much mental energy having discussions about food and drink.
I want you to spend the next three days listening to you talk to yourself about food, and jot down all those thoughts/feelings about food so you have a record of how distracted you are. In the Handel Method®, we call this thought logging. You’ll have to really be on alert, maybe even get a buddy, because most of us don’t even know what we’re thinking most of the time. Paying attention to your thoughts will revolutionize your life!
So, what will you notice during your thought logging? What will your thought patterns be? There are probably themes like:
- Hoping what you like is served
- Hoping nobody sees what or how you eat
- Deciding on portion size
- Debating how much/what to have now versus later
- Debating how late you should eat
- Wondering if you’ll be hungry
- Wondering what you can and can’t handle as a result of that drink or the absence of it
- Wondering about what other people are eating
- Negotiating eating something now in lieu of something later
- Wondering how something you eat or don’t eat will impact how you feel
- Wondering how something you eat or don’t eat will make you look
And I could go on and on. Ain’t it complicated? And sometimes even sad or painful? I believe that mastering your relationship to food and your body is one of the most complex, spiritual and rewarding endeavors a human being can embark upon, and I want to challenge you to begin, if you haven’t already. After three days of studying your mind on food, I want you to try to silence or talk back to it. The best way to do that is to set up some rules. First, have a rule about not thinking about or talking to yourself about food. (Yup, you can control that, too!) In order to adhere to it, you’ll have to have other physical rules to guide you. Here are some of mine:
- I don’t eat sugar, but I am allowed two desserts per week.
- I don’t eat refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, etc.).
- I don’t eat cheese, except for feta and goat.
- I don’t eat after 7:30pm.
- I drink two huge glasses of water before anything else in the morning.
- I take probiotics morning and night.
- I only drink water, but am allowed up to two alcoholic beverages per week.
- I can break any of these rules for one meal per week.
Keep a thought log again for three days along with a log of everything you eat (a food log). Write down the food and drink you choose to consume and any thoughts and feelings you have about it during the day. I am asking for less than a week for this experiment! I’ve done this all myself before and for much longer, so I know you can do it, too. What will change when you have your rules? Possibly, you’ll feel a lot of relief. I hope so. I know I am always dying to get back to mine after a vacation. Possibly your internal “brat” or “chicken” voices will start to totally freak out and scream even louder at you than ever before, trying to convince you the old ways weren’t so bad. (You weren’t that consumed or miserable, right?) Possibly, you will realize it’s way easier and more fun to take this on with a coach and a community, so you have support. Join us for a free coaching session that we hold twice a month called A Taste of Life Coaching. It’s an hour-long interactive dialogue from which you will gain valuable insights about yourself.