12 years globe trotting around the world as cabin crew definitely left me with some questionable mealtime habits!
Between my 20's and mid 30's numerous times a month, you could find me on the way back from LA, NYC, Shanghai or some other far fetched place hanging in the galley (aka an aeroplane kitchen) at 4 am wolfing down at great speed some obscure meal combination in between services, swigging it down with diet coke or coffee.
But it didn't stop there. Later on, you would find me face-first in the upper/ 1st class dessert trolley throwing cheese and biscuits or some delectable dessert down my gullet. Not through hunger, through habit and a need to keep me awake.
The tiredness was unreal. You may have noticed that when you are not getting enough sleep, you find it harder to make good food decisions and your food cravings go through the roof. And not for carrot sticks and chicken but for chocolate, cake and crisps!
It's so damn hard to manage and is why prioritising sleep is so important.
IT JUST MAKES EVERYTHING IN LIFE MORE MANAGEABLE!
Near the end of my flying career, I did get better at managing my food. I started taking my own and putting boundaries in place for what I would eat on night flights and while I was away.
Often I would find that I was treating every trip like a holiday, so pretty much eating what I wanted when I wanted!
I had begun to take more of an interest in my health and fitness and come to the realisation that the way I had been eating for years was not good for my digestive, physical or mental health.
Since leaving the airline industry I have been on a crazy transformational life journey which included for a time, a disordered relationship with food triggered by extreme dieting and then an even longer time working on and healing my relationship with food so I could stop living a life full of food obsession and food fear.
Fast forward to today and I am in a good place with food.
Right now I am undergoing treatment for candida so I am doing a lot of focus on my gut health and have had to make some adjustments to my nutrition, but overall on any other day, I have no restrictions around food.
My main focus is always eating to feel good and if a big slice of cake is the thing that is going to make me feel good (before, during and after) then that's what I'm having!!!
One thing I have to check myself regularly on; is my mealtime practices!
I can still fall into old habits of eating while distracted and not chewing my food properly which can sometimes lead to eating beyond the point of fullness or actually not even tasting my god damn food!!!
Today I wanted to share 5 practices for you to try if this is something you struggle with. They are all practices I've been finding so very helpful!
Practice 1 - Eat undistracted
Make mealtimes a non-distracted ritual.
I get it, it is so tempting to scroll or watch TV while you eat and may even swear that doing those things doesn't distract you.
But I challenge for 1 week to try this practice and notice what happens to your eating.
Practice 2 - Make it look nice
Nourishing your body is a form of self-care so make your meals balanced and presentable on the plate to show yourself you actually give a shit about you.
It doesn't need to be a work of art just something you would be happy to serve up to your best friend! Because don't forget you are as deserving and important as your BFF.
I notice when I am serving up a crap pile I am more likely to take a "just eating to fill a hole" approach which makes me less mindful and actually eating feels like a chore.
Practice 3 - Put your fork down
Practice 4 - Practice the pause
Practice 5 - Make believe
Breaking old patterns and developing new ones is like learning a new language.
In the beginning, it will feel hard and you won't be amazing at it but the more you consistently practice the better you become. Be sure to give yourself the grace to be a beginner as you learn this skill.
Have an amazing rest of the day. Keep it mindful and keep it real.
Sending out my best vibes.