Control over what you eat and when you can eat is one of the biggest things that people struggle with. People give up control over what they are allowed to eat all of the time. You go on a diet and allow yourself to eat only foods based on factors such as carbs, calories, or time of day. You lose the ability to tell for yourself what and when you are allowed to eat.
Do this long enough and you will start to believe that food actually has control over you. Cravings that you have been holding back for so long take over and you eat something that you think you shouldn’t have. This can lead to a downward spiral where after you fall victim to a craving once you continue to do so over and over again.
You only have so much willpower to use before it runs out. I believe that this is why long term success with things like dieting is extremely low. The solution to the lack of control over what you eat is Mindful Eating. When you eat mindfully you know are completely aware of the exact reason that you are eating something and you constantly justify to yourself that reason. In this post, I will try to explain why control is an important thing for everyone to have and how mindful eating empowers others with control over what they eat.
Mindfulness is all about awareness and mindful eating is no different from that.
When you practice mindful eating you gain increased awareness of the thoughts and feelings that you have related to food.
Awareness can be something as simple as recognizing that you eat at the same time every day.
Once you become aware of some type of behavior or habit that you have, you gain some type of control over that behavior. When you become aware of something, you make the decision whether you need to change it or let it stay. Without the awareness of a certain type of behavior that you are doing you have no ability to change that behavior.
Most of the time the reason that we keep practicing negative behaviors and habits is that we are completely unaware of what we are doing or why we are even doing it.
Awareness is the first step in the process of change.
For example, let's say that you have a habit of eating during your lunch break even when you are not actually hungry. You learn to start practicing mindful eating and you finally become aware that you have been doing that. Once you become aware that you doing the behavior you can make the decision whether that is something that you want to change. In this example, it is clear that awareness gives you the power to change something that you never even realized that you were doing.
There is a certain type of power that comes when you gain awareness and that power lets you have control.
Control cannot exist without awareness. If you are doing something every day but are completely unaware that you are even doing it then that means you have no control over whether you do it or not.
Mindful eating empowers you with awareness which lets you have control over the food that you eat.
People are always setting boundaries over the food that they allow themselves to eat.
From an early age, we learn to love some types of food and hate other types of food. We are all born different enough that the tastes that we experience when we eat food is usually different.
We are born with boundaries around the types of food that we eat. When we go on a diet we lose control of that boundary in replacement for arbitrary boundaries that someone else sets for us. We have cravings for things because sometimes that is what our body thinks that we need.
When we learn to go on diets and ignore the body when it tells us that we are hungry and that we should eat more, it becomes hard to maintain this boundary over the long term.
Dieting makes you give up control and forces you to choose what you eat based on some arbitrary factor. You may be giving up foods that are perfectly healthy and that you enjoy eating.
For example, a keto diet can make you give up fruits, a vegetarian diet makes you give up every single type of meat, or fasting can make you not eat even when you are starving. All of these diets make you give up control of what you are allowed to eat.
There is inherently nothing wrong with setting up boundaries for what you eat so long as you have control over it. If you want to eat vegetarian because you want to help the planet that is a perfectly good reason.
One of the biggest reasons that diets usually always fail long term is because people end up ignoring their cravings for the food they actually enjoy eating for other alternatives that are less satisfying.
When you have control it allows you to set goals that are more sustainable long term because they align with the values and goals that you have.
Another one of the benefits of the control that mindful eating gives you is the feeling of clarity in the decisions that you make.
When you eat mindfully you are constantly asking yourself why you are eating and justifying the reasons that you are eating.
This constant questioning of your own thoughts and emotions gives you a sense of reassurance in the decisions that you make.
When you lack control over what you eat you may start to feel bad about something that you decided to eat because you had no idea what made you eat that meal.
When mindful eating gives you control over the relationship you have with food you understand yourself a lot better.
If you are on a diet and you have a huge craving for something that you restrict yourself from eating and then choose to eat whatever that thing is, you feel bad afterward and you might even question why you decided to eat that. Mindful Eating helps you to become clear about the reason why you eat something. So you can be on a diet and decide to have a cheat meal but your reason is justified because you always know the reason why you are eating something.
When you have control over the decisions that you make about food you feel a lot better about the decisions that you make.
When you diet there is an implicit understanding that some foods are good for you and some foods are bad for you. When you eat food that is considered bad you start to feel negative emotions about yourself.