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Dieting Continued to Get Harder; Mindful Eating Continues to Become More Natural

By Charlene Rayburn

I caught myself doing something this week…more than once. I caught myself being really, really mindful.

bowl of cereal and blueberriesI realized it the first time when it occurred to me just how much I was enjoying my breakfast. Yes, I’d set the stage for it by using what I learned in Am I Hungry?® I noticed my hunger level, I performed a quick Body-Mind-Heart Scan, I chose my first bite, etc. Then, a few moments later I realized that I’d been completely absorbed in the smell, texture, taste and pleasure of my meal. I was completely present. It felt entirely natural, as if every single bite at every single meal is meant to be eaten this way. And guess what? I was eating oatmeal, an often used icon for bland. It was anything but bland. Those spoonfuls of oatmeal, mixed with some honey, were exactly what my body wanted. It was such a lovely, natural act of self-nurturing.

The second time I realized it was while I was practicing yoga this morning. Again, I acknowledge that I set the environment. I made an internal inquiry to determine what type of physical movement would feel best to my body. I reminded myself that this time was for me and that the things on today’s agenda could wait until my yoga session was complete. Then, I focused. And I was richly rewarded with a response from my body that was comparable to a deep, intimate conversation with a long-time trusted friend. My body guided me with wisdom and expertise. It revealed exactly how far I should move into a posture, how deeply I should surrender, and precisely when to pull back. I experienced a marvelous connection between my mind and body. It was such a lovely, natural act of self-care.

With gratitude I congratulate myself for following through with this program’s suggestions for creating an environments that supports mindful eating and mindful movement. As well, I appreciate that my mindful experiences this week confirm that this is a lifetime commitment for me. Never again will I cajole or berate myself into a food deprivation plan. Nor will I coerce myself with shame nor grit my teeth with conjured willpower into a contrived exercise program. I now see the magnificent wisdom of my body to have resisted both in the past. I’m so grateful that I failed to succeed at diets and exercise strategies that tried to convince me to listen to someone other than myself.

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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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