This is an informal challenge where I (we?) mindfully consume 21 different meals, including snacks. If we were being mindful about every single meal and snack it would take a week or less.
However, it will take me how ever long it takes since I’m aiming for mindfully eating 21 times and I know I won’t do it with every single meal.
Ultimately this is a go at our own pace challenge to start or restart the experience of noticing the food that goes into our mouths, along with the what we’re feeling and thinking as we eat.
Why Just 21 Meals Instead of a Making Major Changes?
I’m a firm believer in starting where we are, with what we have. We’re going to eat at least 21 times over the course of a week to 10 days. At least I know I will.
Plus, these statistics blew my mind.
Based on statistics from 2008, the World Health Organization says that 35% of adults on the planet over 20 are overweight.
So it’s time for us to begin practicing or return to a practice of awareness of eating in general. It’s also an opportunity to identify patterns of thoughts and feelings about what, why and how we’re eating our food.
A return to a healthy normal relationship with food and eating is the ultimate end goal.
My Healthy Normal Is Not Your Healthy Normal
What’s a healthy normal for you? It depends on your values, goals and circumstances.
Whatever those happen to be, they clearly aren’t coinciding with what we’re doing right now.
We make sustainable changes when we make different and better decisions. If we aren’t even aware of the more than 200 food decisions we make daily, we don’t have a chance to alter our decision process.
Second, it’s to help in understanding and noticing our experience of the 7 hungers and how we’re currently feeding them.
It’s meant to be easy, with no change in what we eat or our eating habits. We’re simply about to practice NOTICING and jotting down what we notice.
I’m reading the book,”21 Days of Eating Mindful: Your Guide to a Healthy Relationship with Yourself and Food” written by Lorrie Jones. Some of the prompts will come from that. However, for me it will be much more spontaneous.
What I’ll do is post the prompt first and below what I noticed using the prompt.
I suspect the prompts will come every 3 to 5 days.
See how informal and non-threatening that is?
You can always join the challenge and the conversation in the comments, no matter when you start the challenge or how you schedule it for yourself.
What Do We Do With What We Notice?
That comes later. This initial part of the experiment is all about the practice of noticing.
There are no good or bad expectations and certainly no judging what shows up. Just be honest with what comes up for you.
Let’s address the thoughts about losing weight, because that’s usually what’s going on when we start looking at food and our relationship to it.
If one of your goals is to lose weight, this #21MME WILL help long term. But looking for immediate gratification with proof of major weight loss – 1. Isn’t likely to happen in this particular experiment and 2. Is not the focus.
When we do lose weight and we will, it’s because we’re implementing long term lifestyle changes and new ways of thinking, perceiving and relating to our food, body, mind, thoughts and beliefs.
If one of your goals is to get healthy, this CAN help. Again, health is a long term commitment.
I was recently listening to an audio book from Laura Silva called “Silva Mind Body Healing” and I’m paraphrasing this thought from the audio, but she says,
‘Instead of our life ending in frail or ill health, we can aim for full health and vitality until our last breath.’
That struck a cord with me. And it’s why I chose to start with 21 meals, instead of days like Lorrie Johns’ book is titled.
I do want some immediate gratification, in the form of data, which for me will stick better if I DON’T try to rush through in 21 days.
So let’s get this #21MME started shall we?
If you’re a planner, you can go ahead and grab your calendar and decide on the days and meals you’ll mindfully eat.
They can be any meal, including snacks. It doesn’t matter what you eat either. There is no judgment here. Although you can notice if judgment is showing up in the form of shoulds and shouldn’ts, guilt or shame when you’re eating.
If you’re a pantser, like me, make an intention to be mindful for 21 meals and when you remember either before sitting down or just after taking the first bite, start taking notes.
You might want to mark it on a calendar, so you know when you’ve finished the 21 meals. You definitely want to have a notebook, notepad, your smartphone or something to jot down what you notice as you eat.
That’s it for this 1st step.
I’ll update this post with each day of the 21 meals as they are published.
Harmony, Healing and Love Through Food