Many people are unaware of all the decisions in making a food choice. I created the “Nice Pants” activity, from Core Concepts of Mindful Eating to help clients understand food, eating, and choices aren’t really simple. Many clients are unaware of the endless number of decisions they make when eating. When I ask people if their eating experience was pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant, many clients aren’t sure. Here is a counseling dialog that might sound familiar.
“Was your meal pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant?”
“I can’t seem to remember.”
“What would be the advantage of decreasing your unpleasant eating experiences?”
“I’m not sure I have ever considered it. It tastes good when I am eating it.”
“Okay, what makes eating enjoyable for you?”
“What makes a meal enjoyable?”
“I’m not sure. I guess, if I was hungry. Maybe the amount of food.”
“Gosh there are a lot of things, but I think it’s the taste.”
At this point, I can tell the conversation could go in a thousand of directions. I might ask permission to offer an activity, which I call, Nice Pants. It is really fun to do in a group.
Why did you purchase the pants you are wearing?
List all the reasons you bought your clothes.
What was the most important reason you chose those pants? Was it cost? If you could find another pair of pants for the same cost, would you buy them? What if they weren’t in your size? Are cost AND size important?
What if they were an unattractive fabric? Are cost AND size AND appearance important?
What if they were poor quality? Are cost AND size AND appearance AND quality important?
What if they didn’t fit well? Are cost AND size AND appearance AND quality AND fit important? It is easy to see you purchase clothes for lots of internal reasons and not just the external reason of cost or availability.
When this logic is applied to food, you may be less confident in choosing what to eat. This is the reason Mindful Eating focuses on the Why?Why did I make this choice or choose this amount? Is this a pleasant experience? Is it neutral? What would make it better? What are my choices, right now, in this very moment?