Friday, July 10, 2015

Eating with Awareness

As many of you know, I’m fond of meditation. I’ve had the good fortune to come across a teacher I deeply respect (Mingyur Rinpoche) and a community of fellow practitioners that facilitate traversing this path (Tergar International).

For the past five consecutive years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Tergar Summer Retreat. Each year I come back inspired, recharged, and ready to hit the ground running. And a few pounds heavier.

While meditation retreat does involve a lot of sitting, I'm not entirely sedentary. Each day I made it a point to get outside for some fresh air and a workout. Unfortunately, I also seem to disproportionately ramp up my food intake!

The food at the retreat center is pretty good institutional food, though nothing to write home about. For whatever reason, during meditation retreat I have historically felt a tractor beam pulling me toward piles of tater tots and peanut butter (no, not mixed together!).

And then I spend the rest of the summer trying to figure out why my clothes aren’t fitting so well.

This year I made it a point to observe my food consumption during the retreat – to bring the awareness I was cultivating on the cushion into the dining hall.

By writing down what I ate for each meal, I spontaneously brought awareness to my food choices. Almost without realizing it, I was tracking my consumption, which naturally made me more aware of what I was choosing to eat.

I’ve continued writing down my food choices since I returned from this year’s retreat, and have been pleasantly surprised to notice that my knees are happier now that I'm a few pounds lighter.

If for no other reason than reducing the stresses on my knees, I plan to continue observing my food consumption. I’m mindful that there is such a thing has too thin, though also notice that I’m still a full 20+ pounds heavier than I was in college. I’m curious to see what unfolds.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy eating the fresh, local food that arrives weekly from my CSA share.

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