It’s an exercise that concentrates on body awareness and connection.
Many of us use food to forget about ourselves and any pain we might be feeling emotionally or physically.
Becoming conscious, open and accepting to who we are and what our bodies experience is the beginning of building a really beautiful relationship – with ourselves.
Exercise To Build Conscious Eating
- Sit in a chair, get comfortable. Don’t do anything but breathe and focus on your breath.
- Let your thoughts come and go. And really let them go; don’t even hold on to the ones you like.
- Now let your attention move to your body. Where does it go first? Your shoulders, stomach, feet?
What is the first sensation that comes to your awareness? Allow your attention to sink into that spot, say out loud: “I am relaxing you (shoulder, stomach, foot).”
Address the body personally. And don’t get impatient if there’s tension. Ask it to relax and let it be.
Allow your awareness to move. Where does it land next? Is it another spot of tension? Say out loud: “I am relaxing you.”
Perhaps the next place your attention goes to is not a feeling of tension, but one of buoyancy. Maybe it’s a kind of release. Enjoy the feeling. Say out loud: I feel you releasing — or gurgling, or burping, or sighing, or whatever it is doing.
What you are doing is creating a dialogue with your body. Do not think this is a small thing. This is huge. This is major.
This exercise is a kind of meditation that you can do in little bits and pieces all through the day. When you think of it, allow your attention to move into your body. Let it go where it wants, then speak to the body part.
If you do it consistently, you will transform your relationship with your body. You will be nurturing it in a new way. You will have a new tool in beating stress.
And you will be short-circuiting the process that leads you to unconscious eating.
The Other Side Of This Exercise
As you become more in tune with your body, it will yield up its secrets to you. When you attend to your body and ask it to open and relax, chances are you might loosen up some feelings too.
This can be frightening. After all, it’s what many of us have been eating to prevent, this rush of feelings.
Do not panic. You can learn not only to tolerate the feelings, but to enjoy them. They do not impel you to do anything but allow them to be. As the feelings surface, the anxiety diminishes. Not a bad tradeoff.
Anxiety is, more than anything else, fear of feeling. Your mind and your body have been protecting you from a great many of these thoughts and emotions for a long while — from their beginnings, or as they grew to be unacceptable or overwhelming.
You’ve spent energy trying to keep these disturbances at bay. Every day, every year, it gets more difficult; you have to be more vigilant, because the essence of who you are as a person wants to expand, not stay chained.
Protecting yourself from your past feelings is nowhere near as interesting as adventuring out into the world, knowing you have faced the ‘demons’ and conquered them through research, meditation, and a new outlook.
Once you come to a better understanding of these emotional blockages, are able to accept what has passed and move forward, your conscious mind will start to take over.
You will find yourself making wiser and better choices in your life – including better, conscious choices in your daily diet.
So, as often as you can, just for a few seconds or minutes at a time, allow your attention to rest in your body, flowing from one area to another, relaxing, melting, releasing. And speak to yourself.
Getting in touch with yourself is a lifelong process, but worth the effort. Your sensitivity and awareness will astound you.
Soon your enjoyment of simple, healthy things will amaze you. Have fun!