I was talking with one of my Catholic co-workers on Ash Wednesday, discussing the symbolism of ashes and Lent in general. We came to an agreement that the whole thing is mainly symbolic, focusing on the concepts of sacrifice and mindfulness.
(As a side note, she is one of a very few believers with whom I feel I can discuss religious topics. We respect one another’s beliefs — or lack thereof — and don’t proselytize, but actually discuss concepts, their meaning, their history, their significance. It’s kind of refreshing, especially after being bombarded by the standard Facebook fuckery about I’m Right And You’re Wrong And Look At This Meme That Says So. But I digress.)
Thinking about mindfulness in eating for religious purposes — avoiding meat on Fridays during Lent and on Ash Wednesday, or during the daylight hours of Ramadan — led me to thinking about mindfulness in eating to lose weight. I’ve been having a really hard time not living in the moment, and instead focusing on eating right overall and staying on Plan.
What if I devote a single day to mindful eating? In a very secular and non-woo-woo way, what if I dedicate the day to myself, and my son, and my husband, and the versions of us in the future that will appreciate me having been good to myself? Focusing on preparing and eating my food and not doing anything else while I prepare and eat said food?
It can be a mindfulness practice, similar to the Zen practice of Oryoki, but devoted and dedicated to my health. Maybe I can spend some time thinking about how much I’ll appreciate what I’m doing for myself in the future, rather than just blindly feeding my face because I want to.
I’ve also been having trouble with eating after Connor goes to bed. So, I developed a sort of ceremonial closing of the kitchen: fill the dishwasher, make tea, clean up, leave the kitchen. I spend some time winding down — sometimes at the kitchen table, sometimes elsewhere — drinking my tea, and eating a Biscoff cookie as a final treat. I read a magazine or a book, or I write in my Techo, or I blog, and I find myself not pining after a fourth meal like I had before. I also find myself getting up to bed earlier, which I’ve needed to do for a long time now.
It’s kind of ironic, though, that those of us who have a tumultuous relationship with food can only resolve that relationship by thinking more about food, not less.