Mindful Eating: Tip 5

Tip 5: Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry.

Guess what? You really don’t have to eat until you’re full. You don’t have to ‘clean your plate.’

If you’re slowing down and being present while you eat, you will notice when your hunger is satisfied. Stop eating then. Push your plate away. Enjoy the conversation with your dinner mates. But just don’t eat any more. If you feel like you want to eat, but you know you’re not hungry, drink water.

This seems to be the most difficult for many of us, myself included. As kids a lot of us were taught we must eat everything on our plates. In our family we were also taught we had to try everything on the table. This creates some devastating habits.

So, here’s your permission slip: you CAN leave food on your plate, you CAN only eat the food you like.

No child in a third world country is going to suffer any more than they already are because we leave food on our plates.

So how do you gameplan this for those family holiday feasts?

Focus on slowing down and stopping when you’re no longer hungry. Limit or avoid alcohol. Eat your favorite foods first.

Tomorrow at our Thanksgiving meal, the first thing on my plate will be sweet potato casserole. It’s my holiday fave.

Here is a downloadable worksheet to help with your plan.

How are you taking control of your health over the holidays?

Mindful Eating: Tip 4

Set mealtimes. Set your table. Sit at your table to eat.

As much as possible, set mealtimes in your home. Sometimes that seems almost impossible, but try to do so for at least one meal each day. It doesn’t even have to be the same meal every day. Maybe on weekends it’s easier to get everyone together for breakfast and during the week everyone gathers for supper. Make sure everyone stays at the table until everyone is finished eating. It’s not only good for your health to slow down while eating, it’s a great time for conversation, to get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives.

The point is to gather at the table with no distractions.

Set your table. Even if it’s a tray. In our travel trailer we don’t have a table, but we both have trays. For our meals we pull out the trays, sit beside each other on the sofa, and eat.

Make family meals an event, a tradition.

Do you have mealtimes already in your home? Do you involve your kids in helping to set the table and clear it after the meal is completed?

Mindful Eating: Tip 3

Tip number 3 is to think about where your food comes from.

What do you have on your plate? A protein, maybe? A vegetable or two? Perhaps a starch?

Where does that food come from? Think beyond the grocery store. Think about the farmer who grew the food. About his family. The people he employs. Think about the earth where those veggies grew. Think about the baker who prepared the bread. If you eat animal protein, think about the animals who supply our food.

Think about the workers who took the raw food sources and processed the food to have it ready for purchase.

Then move up the chain to the grocery store. Think about the person stocking the shelves. The cashier who rang up the purchase. The person who bagged the groceries.

Next, bring it closer to home. Think about the person who prepared the meal you are eating. Do you know the person? Are you eating at home? If you’re in a restaurant, think about the chef, the server, the bus boy, the dishwasher.

The point is to slow down enough to consider all that goes into the preparation of our food and to practice gratitude for receiving nourishment.

Have you ever grown your own vegetables or visited a working farm? How can you incorporate this practice into your daily life?

Mindful Eating: Tip 2

What did you have for breakfast? Did you like it? What flavors and spices stood out to you? What about smell? Did your food smell good? Inviting? Appetizing? Did you really even notice you were eating?

The second tip for mindful eating is to put your fork down between each bite. Focus on chewing your food, tasting all the flavors. How do the flavors change as you chew? How does the food feel in your mouth?

I’ve watched my dog, Jack, eat treats. If they are small enough, he doesn’t even chew, he just swallows them whole. I laugh and remind him that he might enjoy the treat more if he tasted it instead of just swallowing it. But, you know, he’s a dog, so he doesn’t care.

But consider this-how much time and effort do you put into preparing a meal, especially one like Thanksgiving, then it’s over in 10 minutes? Everyone gets up, talks about how full they are. Who really tasted the food? Who savored and enjoyed it?

How would your food choices change if you tasted the food, chewed it well, thought about the flavors? Would that fast food hamburger still taste as good? Would a hamburger made at home with your own seasonings and condiments taste a little better?

Try this exercise: pick a meal time that you will be unhurried, set your meal on the table, take one bite, then put your fork down, your hands in your lap and chew the bite. Do this with each bite. How was this eating experience different? Did it change your enjoyment of your meal?

Mindful Eating: Tip 1

My first tip for mindful eating is to quiet your surroundings from electronics or outside noise. Turn off the TV. Silence your phone. Better yet, put phones in another room.

Focus on talking with the people with whom you’re sharing your meal. Talk about your day, your dreams, your fears, the food, the weather. Whatever you want to discuss. You get the idea.

Watching TV or surfing your phone while eating pulls you out of the moment, away from the present event of sharing food with others. Even if you’re eating alone, do it in a way that honors your own presence.

The point is not to dine in silence, but to silence the outside noise that pulls you out of the present. Focus on the meal, the company, your surroundings. Just BE with your food and your family and friends.

In addition to making your table mates feel important and heard, tuning out and turning off electronics offers health benefits. According to this article from The Cleveland Clinic says that watching TV while eating can lead to weight gain as it leads to distracted eating.

Do you currently eat with the TV on or surfing your phone? Are you willing to try one meal without the outside noise? I’d love for you to come back and tell me your thoughts after you try it.

Mindful Eating Tips for Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving is one week away in the US. Can you believe it? This has been the longest and the fastest year all rolled into one. And given how bizarre this year has been, that makes total sense in my brain.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time of family, fun, gratitude, and…well, gluttony. You know I’m right.

But I think there’s a better way. Yes, definitely still enjoy some treats. I can promise you pumpkin pie will find my face. So will some sweet potato casserole. So how can I eat the things I love and associate with Thanksgiving without totally blowing my health goals?

Two words.

Mindful eating.

Mindful eating is just the practice of mindfulness applied to eating. Being present. Being aware. Being focused.

Over the next few days I’m going to share my five favorite tips for mindful eating practice so that we can enjoy and indulge on Thanksgiving without totally committing gluttony.

Dog Mom Pro Tip

Okay, y’all already know I can be a tad dense at times. Maybe you already figured out the tip I’m sharing today. But when the lightbulb went off above my head a couple of days ago it was life changing!

So, let’s talk poo bag holders. You know, the cute little things you attach to your pup’s leash that holds a roll of poo bags. It attaches with that flimsy little plastic clasp that comes undone and falls off. Usually when you’ve just put a new roll of poo bags in it.

Just me?

Well, I finally realized that if I use one of the locking carabiners to attach the poo bag holder to the leash, it doesn’t fall off 87 times on each walk.

Poo bag secured to leash

Happy potty walks!

Tower of Babel, Carrots, and Other Random Thoughts

So the other day my friend, Kaye, posted on her blog about a cool tablet she found. You can read her post here. First, I am BEYOND excited that she is writing fiction again. I can’t even describe how my JOY it gives me. I can’t imagine how she feels. Well, check that, maybe I can, a little bit.

But back to the tablet. I read her post, jumped for joy for her, then went to reMarkable’s website (which is here), and started researching a bit. It seems really cool. In fact, it seems like a great fit for RV life since it would greatly reduce paper because I could also use it for my journal.

What really excited me about it that day is that what is not common knowledge, until now, is that I have been fictioning again. Yes, I made up a word. This tablet would be perfect.

I talked to Daniel about it. He agreed it’s a great idea. I set some criteria for myself to justify buying the tablet. A day or so later Daniel told me to buy it now, not to wait for later. So, I did. I will get mine in November. Yay!

So, like Kaye, I’m eating the carrot first.

In the random thought category, one thing I am learning about living in less than 200 square feet is that things might get cluttered and dirty quickly, but also I can clean the entire camper in about 30 minutes. That, my friends, is pretty cool!

We are still struggling a bit with clutter, but we’ve only been full time for about 6 weeks. We definitely need to do another purge soon. (See comments about the reMarkable tablet-will get rid of all my journal notebooks.)

Another RV lesson is that tee shirts, hoodies, leggings, and sports bras are about all a woman needs in her closet. For real. If I have to dress up, I ain’t going. The exceptions being weddings and funerals.

Now to the Tower of Babel.

I’m doing a Bible study from Proverbs 31’s First 5 app entitled The Answers to Life’s Deepest Longings. Today’s study was on, you guessed it, the tower of Babel. Something I had not noticed or not paid attention to before in Genesis 11:4 is that part of the reason for the tower was so the people could make a name for themselves. They wanted to be known. They wanted the spotlight on them. Ouch! I started thinking about social media and how it’s definitely a place where we can get sucked into building our own towers of “Look at ME!” Then I discovered that was in our study guide as well.

I’ll be honest, I’m struggling with social media. Not because I don’t like it. I think it does serve a purpose. And, I also think it’s fine to build a brand or a business. I have nothing against network marketing. I mean, that’s what Kaye did with the reMarkable tablet-she brought it to my attention-I bought one. She’s not an affiliate, but that’s how network marketing works, right?

My personal struggle with it, is where is the line? I think it’s in the motive. Kaye shared a product that she loves, that works in her life, that brings back to her the joy of something that she does well and that honors God.

I need to examine my own motives. I think social media can be an absolute blessing and has the potential to absolutely wreck me.

Settling in to RV Life

Now that we’re a month into our full time RV life. We are starting to settle in to living in a very small travel trailer. We’re learning to deal with not having separate rooms, except for the bathroom, and not having a bed available all the time since we have a Murphy bed. Adjusting to constantly having a little bit of clutter is taking me a little more time. I would love to have a tiny bit more storage space, but we don’t. So we deal with it. I think we will cull more things as time goes and we realize what we don’t truly need.

The Instant Pot may become a casualty to space. I’ve used it on two occasions here at the campground. I don’t know that I will use it when we start boondocking. We’ll see. I’m honestly not sure that using it twice warrants keeping it even at the campground where electricity is not an issue. I love my Instant Pot, but when you live in less than 200 square feet it’s not really practical to keep unnecessary items you only use 2-3 times per month.

We’re still trying to find a rhythm to our days. We’ve started staying up later, until around 11 pm, and sleeping until we wake up, typically around 7:30 am. This morning I did set my alarm and got up at 6:30. I just wanted a little bit more morning.

Trying to navigate being self-employed and learning to freelance are sticking points as well. Maybe not really sticking points, but pain points, let’s say. We’re both working on things. Wheels turn slowly, however

I did set up our Patreon page. I hope that grows organically. It’s not super formal, just a place people who want to support us can. In return there are a few photos and bits of information available in the Patreon posts that I’m not sharing anywhere else.

One thing that we do need to find a solution for is our black holding tank. The black tank is where the toilet empties. We want a better solution than a traditional RV toilet and black tank. We bought a Thetford Porta-Potti, but have not installed it yet. Honestly, I’m holding out a bit because I kind of think I want a composting toilet. I’ve done so much research, but feel like I need to do more. It’s an important decision.

Over all, we are loving RV life and are excited about the future while enjoying each moment.

Murphy Bed Mod

As is typical for any RV, there are a couple of things we’ve had minor issues with. One was the Murphy bed. For whatever reason, Forest River chose to use one sort of ineffective latch to hold the bed up.

Top is the original latch. Bottom latch is the one I installed.

The top latch in this picture is the original one. It sometimes latches. Sometimes it doesn’t. Eventually, it doesn’t hold and the bed slams into the back of the loveseat. Not cool.

So we went to Lowe’s and bought new latches that I installed in about ten minutes. I put one on each side. We plan to get a couple more just to take some of the pressure of holding up the bed. It’s a bit heavy since we added a 3″ gel foam and a puffy topper.

Here you can see the Murphy bed in place behind the love seat.

The first two weeks we had to leave the bed down all the time. It wasn’t that big a deal, but we lose a lot of space with the bed down. I wanted to be able to use the love seat and have the two feet of extra floor space during the day.

Problem solved for about $10 and 10 minutes of time.