We started with a mindful breathing exercise leading into a “body scan.” A body scan is basically relaxing each part of your body starting at the head down to the toes in sync with the breathing exercise.
Then we spent the rest of our time discussing some of the physical things we can do to reduce stress and live more healthfully. We discussed how foods affect moods with a focus on the dire effects of caffeine. Yes, I drink way too much coffee and I eat crap when I’m unhappy or stressed out. This I already knew.
We also discussed the necessity of slow and mindful eating. To illustrate her point, the facilitator passed around some raisins and instructed us to each take ONE raisin. We were told to close our eyes and smell the raisin first, then slowly take a tiny nibble of the raisin. She was trying to drive home the point that we need to eat more slowly and actually savor and enjoy the taste of each bite. She suggested that at least once this week that we eat a “mindful” meal — not watching television while we eat, sitting at a table (not the coffee table like I do), and to taste everything. Good point. Actually, that may be one of the hardest things I do this week.
Then we went over the USDA’s “new and improved” food pyramid. That brought forth quite a bit of discussion. It seems that the feds want us to drink more milk — 3 cups a day. THREE CUPS? One man spoke up and pointed out that many people are lactose intolerant (in fact, nearly half the class appeared to be lactose intolerant). The facilitators seemed surprised at that. I’m not a nutritionist but even I knew that. This gentleman pointed out that the government food pyramid changes every few years depending on which food manufacturers have sway in Washington at any given moment. The milk producers must be in town right now. I’m inclined to believe him. I noticed that the participants seemed more knowledgeable about food and nutrition than did the facilitators.
We spoke at length about sleep problems. I do everything wrong. I don’t have a set bed time, I eat too late, I have a computer in my bedroom (electromagnetic waves will disrupt sleep). And again with the caffeine. Alright already. I promise to cut back.
My action plan of last week was to walk at least 20 minutes 3 times per week and to meditate at least 5 minutes every night. I managed the meditation, but I only walked about 10 minutes three times this week. In light of that, I decided that I would not increase my walking commitment for this week’s action plan. Instead I would stick with 20 minutes three times a week and make a better effort to do it. I did manage my first 20 minute walk today at lunch. I will try to increase my meditation to 10 minutes every night. I will cut back on caffeine. This morning I reduced my coffee from a grande to a tall. And I am going to try to do a short yoga routine at least once this week. The mindful eating thing? I dunno about that. Each week we are supposed to predict on a scale of 1 to 10 if we think our goals are achievable. Last week I put an 8. This week I put a 7.
I’ll give you a progress report next week.
Lori G. (c) 2010