Lots of folks explain to us that the idea of waking up to a better way of eating sounds great. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy eating fully and be healthy? If it’s easy, even better. But, alas, they suffer from cravings that urge them far, far away from that path.
Next thing they know, they’re stuffing themselves with chips and doughnuts or whatever the problem food might be. Then, they tell us, they feel awful — sorry, sick and sad. And they don’t know what to do, how to break this cycle.
What to do? First, we need to understand what’s happening. If you want to wake up, the first step is to realize you’re asleep.Simply put, what’s going on is our unchecked desire for the instant gratification that tasty food brings hurls us down the downward spiral of inattention. There may be a little voice that reminds us to pay attention, but we allow ourselves to get swept away in the rush of immediate satisfaction.
This means that we must focus our attention and set our intention. Intention means really wanting it — almost like a craving of our consciousness and desire. To change what we are doing, we have to make a decision to engage, to make something happen, and to want it fully.
We can start to sharpen our intention by paying closer attention to what we are doing, as we are doing it. We can bring our full focus to eating, noticing subtle changes in our appetites and our bodies. This usually means slowing down, taking a few breaths and reminding ourselves of our intention — bringing our focus to what we really want.
All of us have the ability to focus our attention. Beyond the constant mental chatter that urges us this way and that, we can decide to take a breath and notice what we are doing, beginning the process of awakening. We can do this in every moment (or at least when we remember). The more we do this, the more we are able to satisfy our real desires to be happy and healthy.