The #1 Secret of Successful Healthy Eaters
- Mel’s weekly food pick: Riced Cauliflower
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
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OK, I won’t beat around the bush. The number one secret of those “gifted” individuals who are able to begin and stick to a healthy lifestyle is this:
They focus on the how of eating before the what.
Most people shoot straight for the food rules: what should I eat? And after about a week, where do they wind up? Back at square one, a little more confused, and looking for yet another solution.
The how of eating must come before the what, otherwise the mere whiff of an airport Cinnabon will be enough to lure you away from your healthy intentions. I’ve seen it happen a million times.
Enough of this ridiculousness already!
Don’t get me wrong, the what is important, but it’s always trumped by the how. Besides, the how is a much more natural place to begin…it’s where we started out as infants.
The how of eating: Being with your food
In my book Missing Peace, the how of eating is answered by Missing Peace #5: Return to Your Roots. It involves being fully present with your food while you eat it, a prerequisite of what it means to be a mindful and connected eater.
Mindful eating means:
- Eating in pure enjoyment and gratitude.
- Really tasting your food— appreciating the flavors, textures and aromas.
- Feeling the sensation of your body as it gently moves from ‘hungry’ to ‘satisfied’.
- Eliminating distractions like phone, email, texting, television, and yes, even reading.
Sound familiar? It should. These are all natural behaviors witnessed by observing an infant as she receives a breast or bottle.
Only when you are fully present with your food are you able to uncover and tap into your innate, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and satiety (fullness). This ability is rooted deep within; you were born with this gift, and still harness it today.
Being with your food: Which TV are you watching?
When you eat, there are three possible “televisions” you can have before you.
The first plays movies of your past, the second shows scenes of the anticipated future, and the third looks like a television, but the screen is actually a mirror, reflecting back to you this very moment: you sitting down with your meal. Let’s call this one TV-Me.
Just like you can’t watch the movie ET without a box of tissues in hand (no you can’t!), TV-past and TV-future can spark certain emotions, causing you to ignore the yellow light of satiety, blow through the red one, and get a ticket…in the form of an over-satisfied belly.
Both can also evoke feelings of anxiety, depression, restlessness, anger, guilt, and resistance— all sensations we tend to soothe with comfort food (and I’m not talking chicken soup here!).
Understand, I am not suggesting you push your emotions away. In fact, being present with your food involves being with your emotions too: noting and feeling them, in the present moment. It’s part of the experience!
Remember, what you resist, persists. Nowhere is this more evident than with food. Burying your emotions will only strengthen their hold on you. Only when you shine the light of presence on them can darkness dissolve, and peace be found.
And if you’re doing this right, you may even discover that it’s not physical hunger you are trying to feed, but emotional hunger (or what I call “head-hunger”).
TV-Me: The only place to be
When you tune into TV-Me, you are choosing mindfulness over unconsciousness; peace over conflict. You observe only you, with your food, experiencing all that it has to offer with complete gratitude. You pay attention to your body as it receives the food and feel the reward of nourishment and satiety.
Watching any television other than TV-Me will pull you away from Home, into a fog and disconnected from your roots. It’s impossible to be fully present with your food.
Yes, the temptation to glance at what’s playing on the left or right will always be there, but it’s up to you to grab the remote, turn them off, and deactivate their power. And if they happened to “magically” turn on, take a breath, note the scene, and then move on to enjoy the rest of your meal in peace and presence.
You have what it takes to be a “gifted” eater
You have everything it takes to be one of those “gifted” and successful healthy eaters. So when you eat, just be with your food, in this moment and nowhere else! Because in this moment, with this breath, you really have no problems.
If you are tempted to challenge this statement, I invite you to think of a problem and then ask yourself if it’s tied to something in the past or future. The answer will always be yes.
Do the work and focus on the how.
The what is a piece of cake 🍰 (figuratively speaking). 😉
Mel’s weekly food pick:
An amazing alternative that works beautifully in virtually all recipes calling for rice.
Riced cauliflower is just what it sounds like, cauliflower that has been chopped into itty bitty pieces using either a box grater, food processor, or blender. You can certainly make it from scratch (try this recipe), or indulge in the convenience of fresh cauliflower rice in the produce department at your local grocery store.
Fresh cauliflower rice can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a large skillet with a bit of olive or avocado oil and used in stir-fries or hot side dishes (see my recipe pick below for Cauliflower Fried “Rice”).
Cauliflower (along with kale, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts) is a cruciferous vegetable—a super powerful class of veggies that aids in boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and balancing blood sugar. I make it a rule to eat at least one hefty dose of cruciferous vegetables every day. Cauliflower rice can help you do the same!
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Cauliflower Fried “Rice”