Motherhood and Mindful Eating: A Conundrum

co·nun·drum:
kəˈnəndrəm/
noun
  1. a confusing and difficult problem or question.
  2. a question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle.

I was looking over a list of 10 Mindful Eating Questions asked by Susan Albers, PsyD (EatingMindfully.com):

  1. Do I tend to stop eating when I am full?
  2. Eat when I am hungry, rather than emotional?
  3. Not “pick” at my food?
  4. Taste each bite before reaching for the next?
  5. Think about how nourishing food is for my body?
  6. Be nonjudgemental of myself when I accidentally overeat?
  7. Not multitask when I eat: when I eat, just eat?
  8. Be able to leave some food on my plate if I don’t want it?
  9. Eat slowly, chewing each bite?
  10. Recognize when I slip into mindless eating (zoned out, popping food into my mouth)?

How did you do? Ummmmmmm, if you are like me, motherhood has slipped your “yes” answers from 10 to 3!mom and chocolate

The good news is that we can always come back to mindfulness. That is why mindfulness is a practice! And the gift of being an imperfect mother that chooses to continue to grow and become/stay conscious, again and again, is that we model this for our children! So if we eat emotionally (Um- are there any mothers out there that haven’t had a piece of birthday cake or goldfish crackers? That would be, by definition, emotional because the nutritional content would be nil), then we can notice this, and choose to be kind to ourselves. Notice I didn’t say stop doing this. All food has some emotional content. And saying to yourself Stop doing that is just another version of the Overdeveloped-Superego-for-Mommy guilt.

Here is my revised-for-moms list of 5 questions for Mindful Eating:

  1. Do I attempt to provide a variety (colors, textures, food groups) of foods for myself as well as my family without making any foods “bad”?
  2. Can I allow myself to sit down and eat with my children/family (rather than serving everyone but myself)?
  3. Would I consider forgiving myself if I eat something emotionally because I am tired, frustrated, or lonely?
  4. How about if I lower the bar and dedicate 1 bite of the meal to mindfulness (notice the texture, taste, savor it)?
  5. Can I model good boundaries by protecting my plate of food as mine and not allowing toddler crumbs to be thrown on it?

I threw that last one in as a conundrum 🙂

2 responses

  1. Such good advice! I used to be raw vegan and needless to say that has gone out the window with my new baby and I have been beating myself up. This has lifted me up a bit!

    1. Rule #1 with motherhood: Be as kind to yourself as you are to your baby.

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