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Balance and Harmony
Food is a great gift. In the CAMP system, food is seen as a great gift--one that deserves our highest respect. This is easy to say but harder to do, because if we view food as a gift, we begin to understand the need to approach food mindfully. When we use food for reasons other than nutrition, when we eat just to get the sensations, when we eat to get it out of the way, we do not honor this gift of food. The mindful eater regards every meal, every serving, every bite as a remarkable thing.
Using the CAMP System, you learn to see and approach food in a different way.
As your attitudes about food change, your eating behaviors change as well. Slowly, you regain personal power over food as you travel the path of Attitudes.
Below are four of the ten major attitudes shifts of the CAMP System and mindful eating.
Try it: Before you take a bite of any food, think about what it would take if you had to grow, tend, harvest, slaughter, clean and prepare that food by yourself. Look deeply to see the effort and sacrifice in any food.
To eat more than we need is to dishonor food. It's difficult to throw food away in our culture, so many people finish their plates even though they're not hungry. While this seems to be preventing waste of food, it's actually more harmful than good. Mindful eating informs us that it’s better to throw food away rather than eat more than we need. The mindful eater understands that putting unneeded food back into the system is better than eating it.
Try it: During your next meal, intentionally leave a little bit of each food. With purpose, scrape your plate clean at the end of the meal, knowing that you have some control of the amount of food you eat and that you have brought honor to yourself as an eater.
Never be deprived. When we deny ourselves the foods we love, we only set ourselves up for shame, guilt and failure down the line. The CAMP approach is to eat the foods we love, but to eat them in a different way: with great attention, care and in sensible proportions. The mindful eater pays attention to any and all foods, and is open to any food as an option.
Try it: Select a food that you truly love---candy, pizza, dessert, ice cream---and allow yourself a small helping. Even if you're on a diet right now, let yourself have at least four bites of a food you'd normally deny yourself. Eat each bite slowly, carefully, mindfully. Remember: when you deprive yourself of foods you love, you only punish yourself and you set up a self-defeating system.
There are no "bad" foods. In our culture, it's common for us to think of food as the "enemy." We’ve believed that our problems with food and being overweight should be blamed on the food itself. It's been drummed into our heads the broccoli is "good" and German Chocolate cake is "bad." The new CAMP attitude stresses the importance of being in balance and harmony with foods. That includes all foods, whether meat or salad, fruit or vegetable, snack or dessert. When we hit that harmony, we can coexist with any type of food without it controlling us.
Try it: The next time you're at a restaurant, order your dessert along with your meal. (If you like, you can ask the server to wait and bring it after you're done with the meal itself.) Think of the dessert as part of your nutritional economy. Then, eat the main part of the meal carefully, leaving "room" for the dessert as part of the meal. In other words, eat less of the foods in the meal, knowing you still have some dessert ahead.
It will help if you eat all the foods carefully, slowly and deliberately. Paying attention to food, no matter what type, will help you control you portions, will honor the food and will help you honor yourself in the process. Use the Basic Mindful Bite technique.