Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mistaking thinking for praying

For lunch today, I stopped a Carl’s Jr. for quick meal. I’m fighting an entrenched battle with my waistline, so I’ve been carful to make choices consistent with my paleo lifestyle.  In this case, I ordered a chicken breast sandwich served protein style with no sauce and a side salad, plus an iced tea. It’s boring, but I view weight loss one battle at a time. I won this one. When I add in breakfast, snacks, and dinner, I managed to win all my battles today. Good for me.

I’m practicing something called mindful eating. It’s one of many small changes I’ve made towards my relationship with food. In this case, I allow myself one bite of the salad to start, then spend a minimum of two minutes thinking about my meal before I eat it. I have a checklist on my phone that I use to run through a series of questions. Questions include:

  • Is there anything in the meal I should discard before resuming the meal (croutons)
  • Is the meal prepared the way I ordered it?
  • How much of this meal should I eat?

The lists also includes prompts to help me get all Zen about my meal by thinking about what my first bite tastes like, reminders to eat slowly, and most importantly, a reminder to ask myself if I am sated.

I know this sounds corny, but to be honest, my relationship with food is horrible and I need these little changes to make the big changes happen.

And now for the odd part, While in my self-imposed two-minute break, a man who had been studying the bible at a nearby table stood up and said, “It is beautiful to see a fellow Christian praying over their food.”

“The hell you say.” was my response. “I’m thinking here.”

“I was watching you. You were praying.” says the Christian.

I was miffed at this point, but try to be polite. “Listen. I don’t pray. Can we leave it at that?”

The Christian backed off and returned to his table. A few minutes later he left the restaurant. A few minutes after that he return with a small New Testament. He dropped it on my table and said, “I think you might need this.” Then he left.

Lunch ruined. Mindfulness forgotten. I threw his gift away with the remains of my meal.

he says a word
I say a word
Autumn deepens

- Kyoshi Tarahama