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- Shifting to a new summer release schedule due to family baseball commitments. Will be releasing a new podcast every few weeks through the summer, not weekly like usual. Sorry for the inconvenience but just not enough time to do it weekly until fall returns.
Relearning My Mindfulness Training
I wanted to spend a few minutes today sharing something that happened to me recently that reinforces my belief in living mindfully. I hope what I have to say may interest some of you into starting your own mindful practice to help with your binge eating. (Listen to the podcast to hear the full story!)
Also, here is the full text of the newsletter article I wrote on mindfulness and binge eating:
Mindfulness Newsletter Article
Many people in life just react and never really OBSERVE or deeply think about what’s happening around or within themselves. When it comes to eating, too often many of us binge eaters also become mindless eaters. When we eat we are not thinking about the food we’re eating or why we’re hunger or why we’re binge eating. We are simply letting our primal minds control our actions and are not engaging or using our higher conscious minds.
Mindfulness is the idea that we can live in the moment and observe what’s going on within our own thoughts and feelings. For binge eaters and people with eating disorders, mindfulness is a wonderful way to stop worrying about the stress going on around us and for the first time be comfortable with ourselves and to stop being judgmental. Mindfulness lets us quit thinking about the “perfect body” or all the problems of the day that seem to overwhelm and drive us to eat or give into those urges to binge even when we’re not hungry.
Practicing mindfulness means being able to silence the chatter going on in our brains so we can focus on ourselves. Being able to quiet the mind is key to being mindful. The path to mindfulness is being able to easily slip into a mindful state through practice.
Practicing Mindfulness Training
Relaxation meditation is the best way to achieve mindfulness. The simplest meditation to use is an easy to master breathing exercise.
Start by finding a quiet location and sitting or lying comfortably. Shut your eyes. Begin to inhale slowly to the count of four, pause, and then exhale slowly to the count of four. Continue to do this for 10 minutes or for a set a number of repetitions that you want to reach. The key is to NOT THINK while you are doing this. Only focus on your breath and the counting. Nothing else. If a thought comes into your mind just acknowledge it and then let it go. This may be hard to do at first but it’s key to getting yourself into a relaxed and mindful state.
Once you’re completely relaxed and feel calm then you can turn your attention inward. Observe your thoughts like a disinterested 3rd party who just happens to be inside your mind listening. You’re only here to observe, not to judge or try to make sense of anything or to guide your thinking. Only observe and take note of what’s going through your mind. Do this for another 10 to 15 minutes. The whole time keeping your eyes shut and breathing calmly and deeply.
As you practice mindfulness, day-by-day you’ll notice that you’re not so judgmental about your thoughts and your actions. You’ll begin to notice being more at ease and comfortable. You should notice your stress decreasing and your happiness or mood beginning to improve. When you feel a binge urge coming on then try to get yourself back into a mindful state and observe what you’re feeling. Sometimes just getting to know yourself and why you are doing something will greatly help with gaining back control.
There are many other ways to achieve mindfulness and getting into a meditative state such as:
- If you go for walks by yourself then try to use that time to quiet your mind and get into a mindful state. Don’t listen to any hard exercise music or engage in any conversation. Just be alone with your thoughts as you walk and observe your feelings.
- You can also practice mindfulness by getting lost in your favorite music and observing yourself and what you’re feeling as you’re listening to it.
- Another way is when you eat try to eat mindfully and slowly. Feel the energy of the food coming into your body and nourishment flowing throughout.
- Even another option is during the day just pause in whatever activity you’re doing and be aware of the moment. Reflect. Learn to recognize and appreciate the beauty of everyday things and events.
No matter how you practice mindfulness you’ll begin to feel much more in control of your yourself as you do it daily over several weeks. Just be aware that mindfulness will not completely resolve your binge eating problems but it should help decrease the frequency and strength of the urges. Possibly enough so that you can begin to resist them occasionally. It also should help reduce some of the stress you many be feeling in your life.
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Legal and Disclaimers
- The Quit Binge Eating Podcast is produced and recorded by Alen Standish. All rights are reserved. If you want to use part of this show elsewhere then please submit your request at QuitBingeEating.com/feedback.
- The host of the Quit Binge Eating podcast is not a doctor or a trained eating disorder specialist and can’t offer personal counseling or medical advice. The opinions and advice of this podcast, website, newsletter or anything or anyone else heard here are based on personal experiences and are not intended to replace the services of trained health professionals.
- Music was provided by Broke for Free at brokeforfree.com. Tracks include Blown Out from their Leaf album and Something Elated from their Something album.