Food Decisions: Can we have intention?

In my previous blog, I wanted to get you thinking about the Food Police, in terms of increasing awareness of its source and your self-talk language around food-centered holidays or other occasions.

But there’s still a difference between being kinder to oneself (i.e., freeing oneself from the eagle-eyed, harmful and harsh Food-Police talk) and having intention with food choices.

For example:
”I am excited to celebrate Jane’s 45th birthday with her. Even though I’m being mindful of my nutrition these days, I’m planning on enjoying a piece of her birthday cake as part of the fun night.”
”Yeahhhh… I ate 2 pieces of birthday cake at Jane’s party because it was there. It wasn’t supportive of my goals, but what’s done is done.”

The first statement shows forethought, intention, and no indication of negative self-talk. The second statement shows little negative self-talk, but there is a lack of forethought and intention with regard to food choice. Is there a difference in the grand scheme? You bet.

While the topics of “mindless eating” and “mindful eating” are massive, I want to make the [short] point here that we can improve the outcomes in our food environments by working on our intention. While we can be kind to ourself in food environments, a lack of intention can still have a net negative effect as it relates to our health goals, mindset, and behaviors.

In other words, we can get caught in a long cycle of “I let myself have the yummy goodies without self-punishment or guilt, but I didn’t put any thought whatsoever into the choices I made.” And then because it’s really challenging for most of us to “sit” with decisions that have been made, we want to quickly move forward and skip the analysis of our actions. The “what’s done is done” mentality.

So, to add to your fun homework (I mean to say, your empowerment and level of kickassery), let’s work on the practice of intention at a basic level. I’m not asking for anyone to rigidly plan every morsel of food to eat (no way!). However, if you’ve been in the mode of eating without thinking, then start by simply becoming more present in the situation (without judgment or rules). Asking oneself “What is it I want out of this food situation?” can assist with developing some intention.

From there, we can build on the proaction and get out of the reaction or ‘what’s done is done’ mode.