Mindfulness…I do go on about it quite a lot!
So imagine my delight when upon arrival at uni today, the headline acts were ‘Mindfulness’ and ‘Gestalt coaching’…it certainly renewed my waning enthusiasm!
Now, when it comes to the Gestalt stuff, I use it…but had no idea that I was using it. I had tried reading about Gestalt but it felt so impenetrable – to quote my lovely mentor! – that I gave it up as one of those ‘psychology’ things that I would never understand. When we stripped it back and simplified it – because academics seem to enjoy making their musings and methods feel complicated and unattainable – it is very closely linked to mindfulness. The coach and coachee work together in the present moment. This present moment work then transcends that session and permeates the day to day activities of the coachee…so they increase awareness – which is where, for me, it links with mindfulness.
So Gestalt…Google it if you must…but I offer a word of warning that it can sound overly complex and tough to make head or tail of, but in practice is simplistic and powerful. I am glad that I now understand it…and thrilled to know that I was doing it without realising it!
We then looked at mindfulness, which has been a particularly useful way of being for me. I often refer to it as a tool or technique…but actually it is a way of being. Occasionally though, talk of mindfulness freaks people out…and if I told them that it was a way of being, well – it’s another thing to add to the list of everything else that we feel pressure to be!
In terms of personal benefits, mindfulness allows me to just feel, to recognise my feelings – how I feel in the present moment. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as, ‘a way of paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.’ This helped me overcome my binge-eating. I have previously mentioned the ‘pause’ I used to implement before binging…what got me through this pause was mindfulness – again, without me realising that it was mindfulness! – but I would pay particular attention to how I was feeling…not just in my mind, but throughout my whole body. I would allow these feelings to exist – as fighting emotions and feelings was what led to my binging – and through the acknowledgement of this, it allowed me to deal with those emotions without turning to food. I became more rational around food…which is something that I felt was unachievable for someone like me.
I have probably not described that process very eloquently I am afraid!
What I found most interesting when I first began my formal investigations around mindfulness, was a comment by a chap called John Groom. He mentions that as a young child, we live constantly in the ever present moment. There is little behind us and nothing in front of us. We are fully aware of our feelings, sensations, and increasing thoughts. And I can see this in my niece and nephew. The sad thing is that, as we grow up, we are taught to use our minds – to think about things, to over-analyse, to make decisions. This stops us from just feeling…so our childhood ability to just ‘be’ diminishes…and if you don’t recognise and deal with emotions and feelings, that’s when we look for alternative solutions…drinking, drugs, eating, not eating…it’s a sad state of affairs.
So this is why I love mindfulness. As with the Gestalt stuff, mindfulness tends to permeate…which why it’s described as a way of being. For me, it makes me more conscious of my responses to situations; I understand or recognise why I might get those binge urges…but can deal with them now as I am learning to allow those emotions to exist and not to judge them. I don’t punish myself for feeling a certain way.
I still have no idea of the ‘why’…why I made the decision to reach 43st+. In fact, it wasn’t a decision…it just happened – I was trying to deal with life, but in a very misguided manner. But is the ‘why’ important…surely the action I take now is more important? What I can do – through the increased awareness that mindfulness has created in me – is identify why I want to binge in a given situation…so the action is that I can now deal with that; I can prevent the binge.
The benefit for me…I have been binge-free for well over 18 months now…not bad for a bit mindfulness!
So my day has been well spent. I got to chat with people about mindfulness and describe some of the benefits to some sceptics! I also got to understand that I was naturally using Gestalt techniques within my coaching…so I guess being natural is a bonus. It’s been a good day.
I also saw my niece and nephew quickly this evening, caught up with some of the messages I got yesterday after getting my 20st award…it’s gone a bit crazy on my social media since then…which I adore, but never ever anticipated! I also caught up with my coach/mentor/supervisor…he is ace – a very knowledgable chap; I learn something from each time I talk to him…and I am looking forward to catching up with him in person when I get back from Scotland. I think that I might treat myself to an early night and bit of my Rebus novel.
Breakfast: Boiled eggs and a banana.
A gorgeous food day! My usual brekkie fuelled my learning at uni today! Lunch was rice with roasted veggies – red onion, courgette, and peppers – with spinach and cherry tomatoes. Dinner was homemade hummus – a tin of chickpeas, cumin, garlic, and lighter than light mayo – with cheese, Quorn chicken slices, and roasted veggies. And my snacks were nuts for my HEBs and my beloved Nakd bars!
Exercise: Not a lot today.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx