Eating Intentionally

In several posts I’ve talked about the concept of “eating intentionally.”  And as you’re reading along, you’ve either missed it entirely or thought to yourself, “what the heck is he talking about?”  While I can’t claim authorship of the phrase, I can tell you what I mean by it, and why it’s important to me.

When I use the phrases “eating intentionally” or “intentional eating,” what I mean is thinking about my food.  If I’m eating intentionally, it means I’m considering the choices I make regarding my meals.  It means I’m actively choosing what to put in my shopping cart, in my oven, on my plate, on my fork and in my belly.

Sure, I read that avocado is good for my prostate but, hey, I don’t really like avocado.  Will I actually eat it or will it sit on the counter and rot? (That was a bad example.  It would not rot.  My Lovely Wife loves avocado.  Give me a little license, por favor.)

Boy, that pasta looks great on the menu.  But it’s not whole wheat.  I know white-flour pasta isn’t a good choice for me.  Hmmm … what else is on the menu?

DAMN that was tasty!  Yes, I’d LOVE another helping!  Hang on … my stomach is actually kinda full already. Is it my taste buds or my belly that needs another plateful?

You get the point.

It’s amazing … almost magical … how much better I feel when I approach food intentionally.  When I consider what it is I’m trying to get from that next forkful (Sure, it’s gonna taste fabulous, but do I need the fuel?  How is it going to make me feel?).  Maybe it’s just because it slows me down for a second or two. Or maybe it’s the power that focus brings to just about any human endeavor.

When I make better choices about food – at the grocery or at the table – I feel better in the short term and I see a difference at the scales on Friday.  But I also get the benefit of having made a good decision.  Of taking one more step to taking care of my body, to getting more mileage out of myself.  Don’t discount the psychological benefit of knowing you made a good decision.

If you don’t mind me stepping outside the normal point of this blog for a moment, I want to endorse – as strongly as I can – the idea of living intentionally.  Being where you are.  Thinking about your actions as you act.  Moving through your day, your week, your life, as though you intend to get somewhere, to achieve something.

It’s easier said than done.  I don’t claim to be able to do so all, or even much, of the time.  It’s hard to stay on whatever course (or courses) I’ve chosen.  Life is distracting, necessarily so.  But when I focus, when I act with intention, I see and feel the results.  Often immediately.

I can let the day sweep me along … or I can remember that the time will soon come when my Sprightly Daughter will stop asking me to read her a story – and I can make time to read that story (and file the memory away for safekeeping).  I can make phone calls while I walk to the car … or I can look at the shapes in the clouds and feel the sun on my skin.  I can grab a snack at the Kangaroo store … or I can enjoy actually tasting my food at dinner.

I can move through life and miss days or weeks at a time … or I can live, intentionally and productively.

I’m not telling you to drop all your responsibilities, large and small, and move to Oahu in pursuit of your lifelong dream of becoming a champion surfer.  And I’m not telling you that focus is the only thing standing between you and Trump-esque world domination.  What I’m saying is that when I take control of the minutes – even the seconds – of my life, good things happen.  It takes practice.  Most good things do.  But training myself to think and focus in the moment has been worth the effort.

I’ll wager it would be for you as well.

Thanks, as always, for reading.







4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by 'Shell on July 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Well done Harvey, well done. Good reminders for all of us! Thanks!


  2. Posted by Amy on July 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    As I’m reading this while sitting in a park, I will now put my phone down and enjoy the sunshine. Thank you.


  3. Posted by hlward on July 21, 2011 at 8:42 am



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