Overcoming obstacles and mindful eating

Good morning!

Since I don’t have any photos to go along with this post, I’ll share a photo of Jackson at the top of our neighborhood that I took during a walk last week:

It’s only 10:00 on Monday morning, but I already have a lot on my mind. Since my public confession and coming clean about my exercise addiction a couple of weeks ago, I have actually changed a lot of things in my life. And I have to say- those things have definitely been changed for the better! It’s been almost three weeks since I had my “a-ha” moment about how badly I was taking care of my body, and I was able to stop all of the bad behaviors pretty much cold turkey. And what I mean by “bad behaviors” is my exercise addiction: over-exercising, obsessing about it, basing everything in my schedule around it, and not ever giving my body a chance to recover.

For the last 3 weeks, I have had 3 “hardcore” workouts each week: 2 days of teaching spin + some other kind of cardio and/or strength-training and 1 day working out with Ken, which always some kind of high-intensity combo of cardio and strength training (for 60-90 minutes, depending on the day). For the other 4 days out of the week, I’ve generally done an hour of yoga 2-3 days and something else the other day, like a hike… or nothing at all.

I have really, really gotten to love yoga. I know I’ve already gushed about it, and I’m sure I will again many, many times. But, I just really love it. I feel like I’m being so good to my body and mind when I’m practicing. I work up a good sweat and I can feel my muscles getting a good workout, but I don’t feel completely exhausted afterwards like I do with my “hardcore” workouts. Plus, it’s such a confidence booster. I feel like I get a little bit more flexible each day and can go into each position a little deeper. I feel stronger.

I really like that practicing yoga focuses on so much of your physical and mental well-being. It teaches you to deal with thoughts that come into your mind, and process them- rather than just ignore them. What I’ve learned from yoga has bled over to so many other aspects of my life. I feel calmer, more focused, more balanced – which is exactly what I’ve been seeking.

Don’t get me wrong though- I still have my challenges every single day that I am somewhat struggling through. And obstacle #1 is definitely mindless eating.

Here’s my issue:

I do really well with eating all (week)day long, because I pack my breakfast and lunch and don’t even have the option to “snack.” If I wanted something else, I’d have to go get it from a vending machine or the school cafeteria- neither of which is an option I’m willing to take. There are constantly “treats” in the staff lounge and at faculty meetings, but 99% of the time it’s junk food- which does not tempt me in the least. I feel lethargic and heavy when I eat processed crap- so I’ve learned to not even have the desire for it.

But then, when I get home, I walk into my kitchen and see a whole pantry and fridge full of healthy, organic ingredients that I can think of a million things to create into. I’ll typically much on trail mix or cereal while I’m deciding what to make for a snack. So, before I’ve even consumed my “snack,” I’ve easily eaten 300 calories. I continue to snack when I make dinner, and then usually have a few bites of something else after. But all of these mindless calories that I consume after I get home sure do add up. For some reason, I haven’t been able to figure out how to STOP the mindless eating. It’s completely sabotaging all of the efforts I do to exercise and eat right.

I’m not tempted by junk or fast-food. I don’t eat the “entire bag of chips” or the “whole container of ice cream” or any of the other typical diet blunders I see. I’ve tried journaling everything I eat, but that just makes me obsessive- and I want to stay away from that. I want to be able to just control it myself without tracking calories or points or anything like that.

I also refuse to make anything “off-limits” because I find that just makes me want it more. I will never, ever give up carbs or dessert or beer. Everything in moderation. 99% of what I eat is healthy- I just eat too much of it miindlessly.

I’m not really working towards a specific number or anything in regards to losing weight, but I would like to just feel comfortable in my body again. I’m anywhere from 10-15 lbs. heavier than I was at my “happiest” weight, and I’d really like to get back there. Plus, I have a whole closet full of cute clothes that I bought, which are all a bit too tight now.

I bought the book Intuitive Eating last spring, and started reading it, but never finished. I felt like it was a little dated- maybe there’s a newer version out? I was looking at a couple of other books on Amazon about mindful eating, but there are many- I don’t know which are actually helpful.

Here are two books that sparked my interest: Savor and Eating the Moment.

Please share: if you have any tips, suggestions or personal stories for overcoming mindless eating, I’m all ears!!


4 Comments on “Overcoming obstacles and mindful eating”

  1. Hey Lauren! As you’ve read, I have a hard time with portion control and often struggle with binge eating. What has helped me is packing an extra snack with my breakfast/lunch that I can eat on my way home from work. I’ve found that I need a snack around 4PM and that helps me to not overeat when I get home. Some nuts and a piece of fruit seemed to work for me last week.

    I hope this helps a little. I’m really excited and proud of all your accomplishments! They’re fantastic.

  2. Lauren says:

    Thanks, girl! You rock. 🙂

  3. Ooh I have I struggled with mindless eating unfortunately I am the dieter indulging in the ice cream and chips. But I’ve developed some tricks that help me. Have you tried putting one serving in a bowl and then putting the box away before you eat? I know that helps me. Also, I’ve found the chewing gum while I’m preparing my dinner helps keep me from eating little nibbles while I’m cooking. Hope these tips help!

  4. Liv says:

    Oh yes that is me too! I eat very healthily, but sometimes a little too much healthy food! I used to be an over-exerciser, but full time college and 35-40hrs a week at work quickly helped me get rid of it.. haha. A good book I read was “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, which is about eating slowly, eating quality foods, and not depriving yourself =)

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