Go lie down!
Every morning (and evening) the dogs are sent to lie in the living room while we get their food together. Having two herding dogs, one of whom is always on the move, means routines and boundaries are a sanity saver for us… and for them.
Nyssa (a.k.a. Thing 1) has two speeds: go and stop.
Go lie down started simply to get her out from underfoot ’cause prepping her food while tripping over her balls was annoying. But it had an interesting side effect—which I’ll get to in a minute.
Nyssa, like some people I know, was eating in go-mode, frantically chowing down, amped up to get back to her ball.
While I doubt you’re racing about with a ball in your mouth, this pattern might be sounding vaguely familiar.
Back when I was seeing clients, I worked with a woman who wanted to lose some weight. She owned a busy hair salon and it quickly became clear she, like Nyssa, was always in go mode. Lunch was eaten at the reception desk, grabbing bites between answering the phone and greeting customers.
Convincing her to take a lunch break was no easy feat. Luckily there was a park across the street from her business so we compromised: she’d eat in the park and her manager could holler if she needed her.
Next we layered on some downshifts before she began to eat:
- Feel your feet on the ground and your connection to the earth.
- Take 3 deep breaths, filling and emptying your lungs.
- Speak aloud, or in your mind, your gratitude for the nourishment you’re about to receive…
But here’s the catch: you can’t speak your gratitude the same way twice!
When you say the same words before every meal, they become thoughtless and rote. Your mind can still be making a to-do list or worrying on the conversation you just had with your mom as your lips run through your gratitudes.
Ultimately eating is about taking in nutrients.
And the point of saying grace is to come into presence so you can be nourished on every level.
A meal is not simply about taste, or calories, or routine. A meal is your opportunity to take in, digest, and assimilate.
Pause. Get present. Downshift from go.
Yes, you can even do this in the middle of a party. Before that fired brie hits your lips, feel your feet on the ground, take a breath, notice where you are and who you’re with. In your mind think of one thing you’re grateful for (I’m grateful I don’t have to spend every Friday evening with these people. Oooommmmmm.).
Now eat. Take in the nourishment life offers, remembering that through your food you’re communing with and connected to Mother Earth.
My client? She lost 20 pounds.
Nyssa stopped puking halfway through her meal.
All because of a little pause, a little grace.
May your holiday season be rich and joyous.
P.S. If you find your belly too full after one of these holiday extravaganzas, bitter is the taste which will help you digest. If you’re out and about the easiest way to get bitter is coffee (or decaf) but you have to drink it black. Don’t like coffee? Try keeping a bottle of herbal bitters in your handbag!