By Michelle May, M.D.
My yoga teacher said, “Whatever you practice, you get good at. If your habit is to compare, judge, and criticize yourself, then you’ll get better and better at it. You will strengthen your habit.”
That really resonated with me. I had subjected myself to 25 years of yo-yo dieting fueled by rejection of my Self.
Wishing I were somehow different and focusing on numbers like calories and pounds only distracted me from living my life fully. Unfortunately, many of us have been convinced that this is the only way, and that we somehow deserve a life focused on what we eat and what we look like instead of living our lives. We waste a tremendous amount of energy beating ourselves up—energy that could otherwise be poured into building relationships, accomplishing other meaningful goals, or simply enjoying life.
I am so over that.
Along my personal and professional journey, I’ve learned that self-acceptance breeds self-care. While it may seem counterintuitive, I also discovered that self-acceptance is the starting line for change. Now I choose to practice loving my Self gently, compassionately, mindfully, and persistently.
Do you love the one you spend the most time with? Want to learn how?
Please join us on a six step journey to self-acceptance so you can create a new habit and truly “love the one you’re with!” Beginning today and ending on Valentine’s Day (how apropos), we will share the six steps on our blog, Facebook page, Twitter, and Pinterest! Please share the love by retweeting, sharing, and commenting!
Start by sharing your comments on our blog: http://amihungry.com/self-acceptance-become-aware/
Is your habit to compare, judge, and criticize yourself? Do you struggle with loving – or even accepting yourself as you are? Why?
By Michelle May, M.D.
I woke up early enough Sunday morning for my favorite form of multitasking: spending a lazy morning in bed, sipping coffee, reading the paper, and watching CBS Sunday Morning. In the opening segments, Senior Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger said, “The first week of 2016 was the worst ever start for U.S. Stocks with major indexes down over 6%.”
I don’t follow the stock market closely so my eyes glazed over and I shifted my attention back to my paper. She caught my attention again when I heard her ask, “What is a retirement saver to do?” That’s me!
Her advice? “Nothing!”
As I listened to her tips, I decided that her advice was also perfect for people who are learning to eat mindfully but are being bombarded with the New Year’s diet propaganda too. It is tempting to panic and veer off course for just one more diet. Don’t do it!
Taking this investment analogy further, when people lose sight of the fact that they are investing for the long haul, they tend sell low and buy high—a bad strategy that will actually put them behind. Likewise, if you panic and jump into the “lose weight” net that’s been cast this month (even if it feels safer and Ms. O says it will be OK this time), it’s a bad strategy. You may see temporary results, but the effects on your body, mind, heart, and spirit will put you back further than before!
Like investing in the stock market, mindful eating teaches you to surf the waves and ride the ups and downs. You learn that not every day will be perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. You become aware of your hunger rhythms and learn to trust yourself to respond to your body’s needs. You notice that your emotions will ebb and flow too, so it is counter productive to push them down with food.
Let me share some of Ms. Schlesinger other “investing” advice:
Remind yourself that you are in this for the long term.
Keep your emotions in check.
Stick to your game plan.
Stay put. You’ve been on that ride before.
Yes, patiently investing your resources to build a solid, long-term strategy for meeting your needs pays huge dividends!
If you are committed to investing in your well-being for the long-term, let us guide and support you. Check out our vibrant Mindful Eating Support Community.
By Michelle May, M.D.
I recently learned about a beautiful word used in Spain, sobremesa, that literally translates to “over the table.” Sobremesa refers to the time after a meal when family, friends, and even business associates linger and savor conversation and one another’s company over the table while their meal digests.
Not surprisingly, in a culture of fast food, Snapchat, and 140 character tweets, sobremesa has no direct English translation. Too often we are distracted from our food, our body’s signals, and even the people we are eating with. We then rush to the next activity, which we will also likely do mindlessly. It’s no wonder that we can clean our plates and feel stuffed but unsatisfied, leaving us longing for more.
What if the “more” we are craving isn’t more food, but more connection, more sobremesa? How would it feel to sometimes give ourselves permission to slow down, linger, and connect for a while after our hunger is satisfied? Could this gap between eating and the next activity leave space for connection, curiosity, or simply being?
As I was learning about sobremesa, I came across another Spanish phrase that resonated with me, panza llena, corazón contento, which means “full belly, happy heart.” What I know through my personal and professional experience is that food eaten in haste, in secrecy, or in tandem with two or three other activities, often leads to an uncomfortable fullness and an unhappy heart.
Food enjoyed mindfully is far more likely to lead to contented fullness, leaving space for a happy heart that can only come from our connection to the food, the people, and the abundance available during this season and year around.
This is a picture of my patio, one of my favorite places in my home here in Arizona, especially during our cooler weather. It occurred to me that I love this space because when I plan to eat on the patio, I am intentionally making space for the sobremesa. And while it is not realistic or even necessary all the time, I hope that you too will create space during and after your meals to connect with yourself and those you love.
Share your thoughts and stories about connecting over meals on our blog!