Sometimes I like to torture myself. And by torture I mean seeing how long I can test the strength of my willpower.
I love all sweets, but baked goods especially (now that I’m lactose sensitive). They’re incredibly accessible – I could pick up a donut or muffin between classes. Finished an assignment on time? Here’s a macadamia nut cookie!
I challenged myself to giving up baked goods for one month (with thanksgiving as an exception), and at the end of the month I’d buy myself a 5-class pass to Barreworks as a reward.
The month has now come and gone, and what have I learned?
Well, it’s certainly possible to give up foods for a month (I completed the elimination diet a few years ago). I noticed that I needed to improve my menu planning skills and pack a few more snacks throughout the day, rather than head to the cafeteria or Tim Hortons to quickly pick up something.
I also noticed that I do a fair share of emotional eating to cope with stress (ie. this group project is really difficult and a cupcake would make it much better). I wasn’t being mindful about why I was eating like this.
Mindfulness is taught extensively at my school. It’s something that I completely understand as a student, and often feel like “I get it, let’s move on to something else!” The thing is, while it is easy to accept, oftentimes it is difficult to modify your seemingly normal, everyday behaviour.
Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention on purpose to the present, in a non-judgemental way. Paying attention to your thoughts and feelings, rather than responding in habitual ways is incredibly important. Personally, I realized that I was eating because I was stressed and eating something chocolatey and sweet would somehow make that stress go away (it doesn’t). I became more mindful about why I needed to eat a sugary treat, accept these feelings, and change my behaviour by adopting a healthier lifestyle habit (ie. going on a run).
What started as a fun month challenge to justify my Barreworks purchase, turned into a mindfulness activity (definitely not what I was expecting!). Now I just need to be more mindful about my spending and I’ll be good to go!