If I could imprint the importance of one thing it would be the act of pausing before eating. Pausing is at the heart of my own practice–and yet, after all these years, the desire to dive in and eat without stopping still has some compelling element.
For many, many years it was almost impossible for me to pause when faced with a plate of food, or once I caught sight of a trigger food. It was especially difficult when I was at a party or sharing food with others, I simply couldn’t think, it seemed my entire body was filled with the desire to eat immediately. For a while, I gave up trying to pause before meals but worked to practice mindfulness in other food-related areas. I experimented with raw foods, simplified my diet, researched the beneficial effects of greens and began drinking green smoothies, and experimented with cutting out dairy, wheat and soy products. I still ate a little too fast and sometimes too much, but I was eating better quality foods, and loosing the craving for sweets and the desire to binge.
I worked with impulsivity in other areas of my life–in speech, in relationships, in my work–and slowly, without trying or realizing it, I gained some mastery over my impulsivity. Eventually I circled around to food and how I ate, and discovered that my renewed efforts to pause before eating were bolstered by all the years of work in other areas of my life.
My commitment to align my behavior with my mindfulness practice–to walk the talk–prods me to wake up now.