Oprah Winfrey was on David Letterman last week when she revealed on the show, "Well, actually, I brought meditation to my whole company ... in 2010, because it makes for a better environment when everybody is focused and of one mind and doing well."
My life is certainly not as glamorous as Oprah's or the other celebrities who meditate (Gwyneth Paltrow, Russell Simmons, David Lynch, Miranda Kerr and Ellen DeGeneres) but I have found meditation as a path for me to be more aware of why I eat and what I choose to eat.
It has been a long windy road to come to the understanding of when I feel full while eating and to ask myself why I am going for another snack.
Starting from a young age, food was like a friend that was always there. My parents were divorced when I was six and after they parted ways, I was being shuttled from one parent's home to the other. During the week I would be with my mom and every second weekend stay with my dad (in another town).
Looking back now there was always food, wherever I may be and whatever was happening around me. The habit of turning to food as an ally stayed with me as a young adult. Trouble with a boyfriend? You could find me in sweat pants, late at night touring the bulk chocolate section in the local grocery store. Celebrating a new job or event, then it would call for ice cream of other food to ring in the news. During these years there was a clear disconnect between me and food, we had a dysfunctional relationship.
I did feel my best physically (and spiritually) when I was in my 20s. I was traveling the world, riding my bicycle everywhere and living the life I believe I was really meant to live. During this time I was also not as dependent on food for support, the foundation I had internally was all that I needed. No longer the need for sustaining or feeding my emotions.
Then in my early 30s I landed my first "real" job in the corporate world. It was a gratifying job, I felt important and was doing more than I thought I could ever do. But the food was coming back again and I would sit at my desk for long hours and snack while pouring over reports.
And so the disconnect between what I was eating and why continued.
In 2005, I went to a yoga class at a community centre and the teacher asked us to lay flat in the dark room on a yoga mat while she read from a book. The whole time I was lying there I was thinking, what has this got to do with yoga? Aren't we supposed to be moving? Now looking back, I understand she was teaching us the art of being still and mindful.
Fast forward to 2013 and I have been practising meditation for the past four years. I find that Modern Meditation works best for me. I listen to 10 minute audio recordings each day. I sit still each morning after breakfast and listen to the music with words for my brain to follow.
Meditation has made me more conscious of what I am eating and why. Now when I am out with friends or even at home, I do not feel the need to finish everything off my plate. I am mindful of being present with my friends and enjoying nourishing food.
When I am sitting in front of the TV watching the "Real Housewives" (ok guilty pleasure I admit it) and I feel the urge to eat, I ask myself in that moment "am I really hungry?", if not, that is fine.
With every taste and practising mindfulness through meditation, I am getting closer to that place I was in my 20s, when I was thriving, full of life and vibrant energy.
As I move closer to my mid 40s, I am more aware, healthier and take pleasure in every bite. Meditation has encouraged me to have an enhanced and conscious relationship with food. I am now a happier and healthier person as a result.
In search of simple, quick and cheap stress relief? Meditation is what you're after. Often associated with Eastern-world practices, meditation has been making headlines and infiltrating the West. It's no mystery as to why: Just 20 minutes has been shown to decrease stress, help with depression and even lower blood pressure. Best of all, there's no catch: Meditation is free, and you can take it anywhere (all you need is your head). We were curious where you take your meditation; while we might typically think it's a practice for stillness and silence, it turns out there's no place too loud or exclusive to find peace of mind. We asked on Facebook the strangest place you've found yourself practicing, and from your answers it's clear: Meditation can happen in motion, and is often helpful in times we anticipate feeling tense. Check out some creative and brilliant places to meditate below, then tell us in the comments where else you like to clear your head.
"In a tree." -- Marty Daymunde
"In the middle of a rock concert." -- Jane Sayre
"On the NYC subway!" -- Lauren Loma Calixte
"On a plane." -- Sandrine Laurent
"In the car." -- Heather Hunter
"Public restroom!" -- Jane Sayre
"While running on a treadmill." -- Travis H Heinrich
"While in an MRI. It helped keep me calm in the tube." -- Katherine Nobles
"In the middle of the airport." -- Sky Can Horn
"In the dentist's chair." -- Sean Mac An Ultaigh
"In a bar." -- Denise Helberg Snider For more on meditation, click here.
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