Sunday, May 1, 2011

Books and Food and Yoga (And washing your yoga mat.)

I recently started reading Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth. It's a bit similar to the other book I'm reading Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha. Both emphasize the importance of being present, practicing acceptance of thoughts and feelings and not running away from them and things like that.

Women, Food and God made me think about all the reason I eat (and not necessarily overeat) other than being hungry:
  1. Convenience. It's morning and time to go to work, so I have to eat breakfast since I'm not going to bring a toaster and almond butter to work work.
  2. Because I'm going to yoga or on a bike ride and need to fuel up so I don't keel over during class or on my ride.
  3. Because I'm going out with friends and even though I'm not really hungry now I have to eat otherwise I'll end up having to eat bar food when I get hungry and that's gross.
  4. Because I'm going out with friends and I need some bread in my stomach since I'm going to have drinks.
  5. Because I'm at work and bored.
  6. Because I'm thirsty and don't realize it.
  7. Because the food tastes good.
  8. Because the restaurant gave me a big servings and I just keep picking at it.
  9. Because it's meal time.
  10. Because meal time is a long way off so I'll need a snack to get me there.
  11. Because I just got home from work.
  12. Because I need reach a certain number of calories or points for the day.
There's probably more.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to see what it would be like if I just paid attention to what my body wanted when it wanted it. Here's what I ended up with:
Pre yoga, 8am: slice of raisin walnut bread with almond butter.
Post yoga (driving to visit family. Per W,F & G you aren't supposed to eat in the car, but this was mindful eating) 11am: apple.
At my mom's around noon: piece of cheese and some Annies Cheddar Bunnies.
In someone's yard listening to a band, around 3: a beer.
At my sister's house before leaving to drive home: slice of cold pizza.
At home, before heading to a friends 6pm: slice of olive bread.
At my friend's house 7pm: glass of wine, a few tortilla chips with corn & bean salsa.
At nice restaurant, 9pm: lobster cakes over spinach. Yum. A grapefruit & vodka drink. Also yum.

Apparently if left to my own devices I will eat bread. I didn't feel overly hungry or overly stuffed at all. I was surprised to find that even though I hadn't really had lunch, I wasn't hungry until 4 or so. I had thought we were going to dinner at 8, but when we got there at 9 I wasn't wanting a huge entree. The lobster cakes were the perfect little thing. And I realized that we can go back again earlier if I want something else from there.

I realized that I sort of do the same thing with yoga, doing it sometimes for reasons other than just wanting to do it:
  1. Because now is class time.
  2. Because I won't be able to get to class over the next few days so I should go now.
  3. Because this teacher only teaches at this particular time so I should go.
  4. Because I don't want the teacher to feel bad if the class is smaller because I'm not there.
  5. Because I should.
  6. Because it's good for me.
  7. Because I never regret going.
  8. Because it's what I do.
  9. Because I'm working on a pose and want to get better at it.
  10. Because the studio is closed but I feel like I should do something at home.
Granted, doing yoga when I don't feel like it doesn't lead to feeling sluggish like eating when I'm not hungry does. But it can lead to a sloppy practice. I went yesterday morning due to reasons 1, 3, 5, and 6. I was sleepy. My arm hurt. The woman next to me arrived late and has a light blue mat that is streaked with brown dirt streaks. And she doesn't shower before class. I spent nearly the entire class distracted by how much she bothers me. I wanted to tell her not to be afraid to wash her mat. Or her hair. Although it appears she runs a flat iron through it before class. She wears $300 worth of lululemon to class and won't wash her mat. Or at least buy a darker colored one so the class doesn't have to look at her dirty one.

I decided during class that I don't actually have to go on Saturday mornings if I don't want to. I can find the teacher on Thursday nights at another studio. I won't be as sleepy and I think it will be less crowded.

Intuitive yogaing. Like intuitive eating. An experiment for the week.

Do you eat when you aren't hungry? Do you do yoga when you don't want to? Do you wash your mat at least once a week?

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