I'm glad to share this letter I received from a “Savor Aficionado” expressing her gratitude for our book. She reads Savor regularly as a resource and support for her mindful eating and daily meditation practices.
I’ve been meditating and practicing mindful eating regularly for the last 10-15 years and am still amazed at the power of mindfulness to free me from unhealthy behaviors.
One simple example comes to mind. I was finishing a handful of nuts and two brazil nuts remained: one large, one small. Being mindful, I noticed my mind saying, “Save the big one for last. It must be the tastiest, most delicious brazil nut of the two. Just by virtue of being biggest, it will guarantee your happiness." "SUPERSIZE MUST AUTOMATICALLY BE BEST" had been my unseen, standard operating procedure until that moment.
Choosing to follow that old mental habit, I ate the small brazil nut. Contrary to the "Supersize" mandate in my brain, the small one was very tasty, had excellent texture and was very satisfying. With expectations of an even better eating experience, I ate the large brazil nut. From my mindful perspective, I noticed that the larger one was not as tasty, but rather mealy and was no big deal. I paused and reflected that this, "SUPERSIZE IS BEST" policy, operated in many areas of my life - and to my detriment. That fallacy had led me to automatically chose the largest pastry, pizza slice, etc. Such unconscious behavior had promoted weight gain and unhappiness. The Supersize Syndrome was not a reliable guarantee of my happiness, health or well-being. My real source of happiness was the ability to remain mindful in each experience, “savor” each eating experience, and be free from compulsion. Whether my experiences are wonderful or disappointing, I now have the choice of buying and eating what benefits me regardless of the "SUPERSIZE " chant popping up in my brain.
Since then I have noticed the "SUPERSIZE" mantra in many situations. One night, at Trader Joe's, I was ready to purchase a single portion of sushi when I noticed a HUGE tray of sushi for merely $2.00 more. Immediately, my mind jumped and started rationalizing: “The SUPERSIZE TRAY is a better deal. I can save it and eat it later (or been tempted to binge by its mere availability). It has more variety. Blah, blah, blah!” Having previously realized that harmful mental habit, I was immune from jumping at its command and am now living more skillfully most of the time.
Such insights happen daily with my mindful eating and mindful living practices. The sense of peace, comfort and self-love which I get from buying a suitable portion to eat is irreplaceable. These positive emotions help me continue to see and to release negative actions in all areas of my life. I read "Savor" regularly to reinforce and support my practices.
Are you releasing similar negative habits in your life through meditation, mindful eating and mindful living?
Photo by PMO, of the Flickr Creative Commons.