I’ve lost weight recently-over 20 pounds! Right before Thanksgiving, my doctor told me in no uncertain terms that I had to shed some pounds before it began to adversely affect my health. Not quite sure of how to begin, I decided that I would just start recording what I was eating and see what I could do with the information I gleaned from that. So, I found an app for recording diet, downloaded it to my phone, and started putting everything that I ate and drank into it. Then, something odd happened.
I started eating less. I never got around to reviewing the information to see where I could cut down; I just started paying attention to what I was eating, and I lost several pounds in the first couple of weeks, even through the holidays. Part of it was the fact that I knew that I had to record whatever I ate, but I started to notice something else going on, too-I was slowing down and paying attention to what I was eating. Then, something even more odd happened.
I found that I was enjoying my food more! Now, I’ve always liked food and eating, but I began to realize that so much of my eating was done while thinking about something else or while listening to the news or reading over something at the table. In those times, I’d find that I had no idea of what I had just eaten or how much I had eaten. Once I started paying attention, I really began to delight in my food more, and I would be satisfied with less of it-I’d feel full from less food (and not become uncomfortable later from having thoughtlessly overeaten!).
Then, my diet app posted an article about what I was experiencing, “How Mindful Eating Can Help You Lose Weight,” that suggests that we “[c]onsider weight loss and improved body composition as a side effect of eating mindfully.” For me, this ‘mindful eating’ became like prayer and the weight loss was just a side effect. If, as Paul says in his First Letter to the Corinthians, our body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit,” isn’t the food that we eat an offering in the temple? Shouldn’t we take care to slow down and be intentional about those offerings?
With Lent approaching, I invite you, whatever discipline you take up, to think about slowing down and being intentional in eating and see where it leads you.