Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Project FAD: Food Attitude aDjustment

I’m not really in to dieting.

My religious observances mean that my choice of foods and places to eat prepared food are already restricted enough without adding any further limitations to what I eat.

Hence I’ve kicked off a small project that uses a tactical approach for a strategic goal. The project could be labeled strategic in the sense that it uses multiple approaches.
  • Meditation when eating and drinking from “Walking in the Fire” by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok
  • 4-step mind training from “I Can Make you Thin” by Paul McKenna
  • No change in my pockets. No chocolate bars.
  • Write down everything I eat and drink (during the working week)

Record all food intakes - last week I bought a small diary to record what I eat and drink during the working week. It’s something that I’ve found is useful for making me conscious of when I’m hungry and what my mood is when the urge to eat arises (which may not always be due to hunger).

No change in my pockets – this is a simple one, it stops me from buying chocolate when I go for a walk during my lunch break. It also stops me from tipping buskers on the underground, but there are often coins in my rucksack.

No chocolate bars – OK, so I lied about restricting my food intake. The one thing that I’m limiting is eating chocolate bars. In the past I’ve used them as pick-me-ups in terms of quick energy boosts, but on reflection my energy levels are largely unaffected and the only thing they boost is my body mass index.

4-step mind training from “I Can Make you Thin” by Paul McKenna – I was until recently pretty skeptical of reading anything by Paul McKenna. However, I bought the book on the recommendation of Mark Smith and I’m testing the 4 golden rules as part of this project. The rules are:
  1. When you are hungry, eat!
  2. Eat what you want, not what you think you should
  3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful
  4. When you think you are full, stop eating
In “Walking in the Fire” by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok on pp. 334-336 he describes “Exercise 8: Yichud & Shem Kadosh to Assist One in Losing Weight”. This meditative technique is based on the verse in Proverbs 13:25: “Tzaddik ochel liswah nafshoh” which in English translates to “The righteous eat to satisfy his soul”. 

Now I’d certainly not consider myself as righteous (according to the definition of the Tanya); however meditating on this verse does help with rule 3 from Paul McKenna - namely being mindful when eating and drinking.  There is additional information in the book about what the combination of each of the first letters mean and what the combination of the last letters of each of the words in Proverbs 13:25 mean.

Here is the project summary:

Scope: Adjust my attitude towards food.
Time: 8 weeks.
Cost: Purchase of notepad.
Quality: The success criterion for this project is no more eating for to the following reasons: emotions, boredom, or gluttony. Note: this project does not aim to reduce my weight by X amount, if it changes that is a side-effect of the mental adjustment.
Risks: The main risk is that without due diligence, the old patterns of behavior will re-emerge. There are other risks such as becoming an even more handsome devil, needing a wardrobe upgrade and having more time to think about magic, mysticism and project management instead of about food.