How to Cultivate Nutritional WisdomPosted by Victoria on Aug 12, 2012 in Mindful Eating | 0 comments
Each day we are each faced with many choices about how to best nourish ourselves.
How do we balance our desire for chocolate with the desire to manage our weight? How do we balance a craving for fast foods with a desire to avoid health problems? Or the pull between staying in bed a little longer and getting up to exercise?
The old mechanistic models of health focused on rules, self discipline and control. Diet rules that specify what to eat, how much and when. Personal rules like “I’ll never eat chocolate again” or “I will only eat one small portion.” Rules that offer something to hold onto in the moment. A way to manage anxiety in the moment. A place to stand within the complexity of life. But it’s a precarious line.
Because inevitably, the complexity of life presents us with times when the desire for the pleasure of our cravings or for the numbing of the pain of our feelings becomes more important than following the rules.
This is not about self discipline or self control. It’s not about holding on tight to rules.
It is about learning to sit with overwhelming feelings, thoughts and judgments without reacting. And then learning to make choices for ourselves within the realm of complexity we are sitting with.
It is about making sure that our lives have enough pleasure, rest, breathe, rhythm, intimacy, refection, movement, work and play. About balancing the ‘doing’ with the ‘being’.
This is how wisdom develops. Wisdom cannot come from books, magazines, enlightened teachers, doctors or television shows. Wisdom cannot come from diets or food rules.
Which is why people who focus on diets and nutrition rules to deal with weight and health issues never seem to gain wisdom around eating, food or the body.
Studies show that mindful eating and meditation practice are the most effective way to help us make wiser choices about what foods to eat and how much to eat. Mindfulness helps people lose weight and stop compulsive and imbalanced eating behaviours. Meditation practice helps to cultivate our ability to be less reactive to the constant thoughts, judgments and feelings that pass through us. Mindful eating slows us down and gives us an opportunity to practice mindfulness a few times a day, whenever we eat.
As we develop wisdom in one area of our life, we become wiser in other areas. The beauty of wisdom is that we can start to develop it in any part of our lives. We can even start with our next meal.