Consumption can refer to anything we consume. When we think about mindful consumption though, the usual suspects that stand out are in regards to an over consumption of food and alcohol. If we are being mindful about what goes into our mouth, chances are, we are motivated by a desire to be healthy or slim. Good goals in themselves, but not necessarily ones that we can count on to see us through in the long term.
If your neighborhood is anything like mine, this past weekend brought out a frenzy of activity as holiday lights and decorations were erected throughout. With the countdown to Christmas now underway, I was reminded that the season for overindulgence has also begun. Thus, now is the perfect time to check in with ourselves and establish some boundaries as to what we will and won’t be alright with this festive season.
This past April, our family took our healthy living goals another step deeper and we embarked on a journey called The WildFit Challenge. The process wasn’t always easy, but it was well worth the time and energy we put into the program. Of course, we learned about our bodies and food. We also learned about the food manufacturing industry and its downfalls (truly scary stuff). We also experienced our emotional demons in relation to food. This was a key step in curbing any misguided connections between food and happiness. But to be completely honest, the best lesson I personally learned along the way was about boundaries. What was I willing to take a non-negotiable stand against or for when it came to my diet?
Over the course of 90 days, I removed refined sugar, dairy, caffeine, wheat and the like. I have lost over 35 lbs and to be honest I’ve stopped checking in with the scale as my clothing size keeps dwindling, which is a good enough measure for me.
The biggest change though is that I have new rules about those foods. I no longer accept sub-par food for my fuel. I no longer rely on caffeine or sugar to keep me going. If I am well fed and feeling sluggish, that is my body telling me that I might need to catch up on some rest. Or if I really need to push through for a short term task oriented goal, I can rev up my energy by heading out for a brisk walk to get my juices flowing again.
A natural state of balance began as we moved from The WildFit Challenge to Living WildFit. The decisions you make along the way, are entirely up to you. You are in complete control. Which also means that food no longer controls you. Each individual can choose what they will and will not consume. But you will do so knowing what the effect might be on your body and health.
The WildFit program is a life model. It is not just about food, weight loss, health, and consumption. It is about taking stock of your entire life and making decisions in a mindful way. As humans, we are natural consumers. But wouldn’t it be nice to consume mindfully rather than have consumption rule our lives?
While the above example is specifically about food, I’d like you to apply the same thoughts to other aspects of your life. For example, think about our cell phone addictions. Stop and ask yourself, is your electronic device controlling you or are you controlling it? Does social media rule your day? Are you always surrounded by a flashing screen of light and color? Does a symphony of beeps and buzzes have you running to check what the miniature wise screen says?
When does unchecked consumption turn into addiction? And what do we do about it when we recognize it as such? The flip side of that question is, what do we do about an addiction when we don’t recognize it as such? Taking a break from electronic devices is a part of a balanced lifestyle. The bigger question for me is. What are the boundaries that coincide with other forms of human consumption and how can we recognize and adjust them for our own benefit?
I have more questions than I have answers. So for now, I will hold the thought in my consciousness and recognize that it is just something to be mindful of. I hope you will too.