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A Mindful Choice for Quality

By Charlene Rayburn

turkey on crossant with veggiesYesterday my schedule was very crowded and I found myself hungry with very little time to grab a bite to eat before my next appointment. Before implementing the techniques outlined in the Am I Hungry?® program, I would have made this a good excuse to eat a fast food burger “meal” by rationalizing my choice based on my state of hurry. Then, I would have quickly eaten, and enjoyed the hot, filling cheese-topped sandwich, salty fries, and sweet cola.

Those are a special combination of smells and flavors most of us have enjoyed since early childhood, right? But, here’s what happened instead.

When I mentally imagined munching on my favorite burger combo, the familiar and comforting tastes did tempt me. However, when I shifted the image to a mindful eating experience, the mental picture was filled in with a few additional details. Yes, there is the familiar savory, salty and sweet taste combination, but there is also the fact that the quality is often disappointing when I’m served a greasy burger, limp, undercooked fries, and an artificial flavored drink.

Imagining the first mindful bite of that lost its appeal. I was still hungry and still in a hurry, but I decided to honor my instinctive prompting for a healthier deli-style turkey sandwich and an iced tea. It wasn’t an act of will power, or sacrifice. It wasn’t forcing myself to eat from an approved list of “shoulds.” It was about making a choice consciously rather than unconsciously…more like a step away from autopilot and denial, without feeling denied.

I’m certain I’ll choose and enjoy burgers and fries in the future, but I love making the decision based on the awareness, distinct insights and broader scope of useful information that eating mindfully provides.

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About the author

Charlene Rayburn, CVCC, lives her passion for mindfulness and intentional leadership by serving as a personal and professional leadership coach, by managing a department of dedicated employees for a Fortune 500 sized health insurance organization, and by facilitating Am I Hungry?® workshops and coaching sessions. She has coached extensively with individuals and groups outside the corporate world, as well as with executives, leaders, and teams in non-profit, private, public, governmental, and educational organizations spanning the globe. Charlene received her coaching certificate through the Center for Coaching Mastery at Coachville, LLC, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Management from Davenport University. She is a member of the National Management Association. One of her most emotionally challenging and rewarding experiences was serving as a volunteer at the Center for Battered Women. Charlene currently lives in Michigan and enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, reading, learning, cooking, practicing yoga, and watching her grandson grow, who lives with his dad, her stepson in Fort Worth, Texas.

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