If you were challenged to do one thing different for your wellness for one day, what would it be? Would it be taking the stairs instead of the lift, not consuming sugar, or wheat, or alcohol? Would it be signing up to gym? Or would it be meditating, or reading a self-help book?
As part of Nestlé's Choose Wellness, Choose Nestlé (CWCN) campaign, I was challenged to do just that – partake in a wellness challenge for a day, which basically meant doing something to make myself feel better, either physically, emotionally or mentally.
While I'm not exercising as much as I'd like to, I wanted a different kind of challenge rather than just being more active. I'm feeling emotionally and spiritually sound at the moment, so there's not much I felt could challenge me in that area.
The one area of growth however is with my eating, and it's been a few months that I haven't felt that comfortable in my body, and where I find myself trying to tuck my double chin down so that you don't see it in photos. My challenge was therefore cut out for me – do something to shift my eating patterns, plus get me thinking about how to make a longer term change, other than just going on a diet, or eating less.
So, I decided to be mindful of my eating for a day, which I think could be a good starting point for better and more balanced eating, and eating when hungry, not when stressed, angry, sad, happy, or bored. Diets or eating plans often ignore the "mindfulness “approach when it comes to managing your weight, and only focus on "Eat this" and "Don't eat that", so I decided to try a different way.
My mindfulness challenge meant doing the following:
- Eating slower and with more consideration about what I was eating
- Considering my hunger – was it emotional, or physical?
- Considering my choice of food: was the scone the best choice for my body and wellbeing at that moment? If yes, then go for it! If not, pick something else to serve me better
- Not eating while doing any other tasks, such as driving, watching TV, reading, or being on my phone
- Trying to tap into my full or satiety levels as best as possible, i.e. did I feel full when the plate was empty, or halfway there
- Thinking if I was still physically hungry before automatically going to the next serving or course
- Trying to figure out what type of food I was hungry for or craving
- Writing down what I ate, to be mindful in print, and "accountable"
This challenge made me think about food and how I act around it, and it was difficult to tap into the physical aspects of hunger and satiety since I'm often guided by emotions or habit. This challenge made me just see and react to food as "feeding", and not as a distraction, or comfort, or something to do when I was bored.
Through being more mindful, here are the ways I ate differently:
- I didn't finish my whole bowl of oats at breakfast. I ate much slower than usual, which probably gave me the chance to get full
- I didn't eat a fruit or drink a diet drink on the way to work just to do something in the traffic, other than drive (I mean, how boring is that!!!!???)
- I didn't have a scone from the canteen at mid-morning, which is usually one of my daily habits. I felt like something crunchy instead, so I ate an apple
- I ate my lunch when I felt hungry, around 1pm, rather than 12pm which is habitual
- I ate half a scone at teatime. I was craving (not emotionally) something sweet, but not too sweet, to eat with my coffee
- I had one helping of supper that night, rather than two
- I didn't hit the snack box after supper, which is what I usually do by habit
- While I felt like something sweet, I felt that "skinny" hot chocolate satisfied the craving
I can't say that I lost my second chin after the challenge – sadly, just one day was never going to make such a big shift. What I can say is that it gave me back my power, and put me in control of food, rather than the other way round. It was a lesson in getting in touch with what I felt like physically, and that's something that's quite foreign to me.
I'm sure that if I had more mindful days or moments like these I'd get back to more balanced eating, and living and feeling well, which feels even better than the second helping of malva pudding and custard….