The irony of this post is that whilst I am typing away I am actually scoffing a ‘Double Decker’ bar that I bought in a multipack in a moment of weakness on a recent family trip to Aldi (does anyone else try and disguise trips to the supermarket as a ‘ family activity’ or is that just me?!). Deep down I KNOW I’m actually full from dinner and yet I can’t resist. After a tiring day with the tots I find I reward myself with treats (mostly salty snacks, wine and chocolate in that order) that I can consume easily and without much thought.
And yet I chomp (or slurp) my way through these delights so quickly that I barely taste them. And this is AFTER the children have all been tucked up in bed – it’s worse in the day. Taking quick bites of toast at brekkie time while rushing round the kitchen getting the tots their most important meal of the day before the school run, eating lunch as quickly as is humanly possible before the kids get restless and start lobbing food around the kitchen or trying to climb out of their high-chairs (or in between lessons, revision sessions and detentions if I’m at work) for instance. At teatime I regularly find myself eating the children’s leftovers (sometimes even from the mat put down to protect the kitchen floor from the mess….yuk). Then there’s the times I find myself standing at the kitchen cupboards with my back to the children stuffing in a quick couple of biscuits or some squares of chocolate before they notice and want some too. Please tell me this is not just me…..
Of course, none of what I have just described is in the least bit mindful. Mealtimes are often when mums are multi-tasking the most and there is certainly limited opportunity to savour each mouthful. However, a couple of weeks ago I found myself eating some very cheap and very nasty sweets that our eldest had acquired and it made me realise that something had to change. Having gone through one singleton pregnancy and a twin one, finding myself nearer to 40 then I would like, and the fact that I can no longer call myself a ‘gym bunny’ made me turn to a couple of articles on mindful eating for some tips and I found this one particularly helpful.
I also did the chocolate meditation with a small group of students recently and found it very useful in understanding that if we take our time over our food and really experience the taste, smell, textures then we won’t feel the need to eat so much and therefore will feel fitter and better able to cope with the demands being made upon us everyday by our gorgeous offspring. This task also reminded me of when the twins were exploring their food in the early days of baby-led weaning and how healthy it is for all the family to take mealtimes at a slower pace to really explore and appreciate our food.
So, conclusions? Realistically I will still be found rushing around the kitchen stuffing toast in my mouth and not truly ‘experiencing’ the taste of it tomorrow morning. However, I will endeavour to slow down when it comes to eating my supper sans children and am going to try my hardest to resist eating standing up (i.e. at the kitchen cupboards) anytime after the morning rush is over. I hope mostly sitting down to eat will mean a more healthy and energetic me (less sugar fueled maybe?!) as I will have time to consider what I am consuming instead of eating it on the run or behind a cupboard door….and with summer around the corner if a bit more of eating mindfully helps me to shed a few pounds then that would be no bad thing either :-).