Here we are on challenge #7 of the Mindful Eating Marathon and it is time to check in.

When I ran the New York Marathon several years ago (“run” may be a stretch, I like to say when I “participated in”), I remember the first few miles were the most exciting and exhilarating. As I started across the Verrazano bridge, it began bouncing up and down because there were so many runners on it.  My adrenaline was pumping. Life was good.

Then, around mile 7, something drastically changed. The excitement morphed into this thought—“Oh my gosh, what have I done? Is it too late to turn around?” It just popped into my mind out of nowhere. Next, I started to do the math—“There are how many miles left?” I asked myself. But, I used my best mindfulness skills and returned to the moment. I said silently, “I’m okay—I am in this moment, don’t try to jump ahead.” 

Maybe this feeling sounds familiar to you. Perhaps you started off the Mindful Eating Marathon with great excitement—saying to yourself—“Yes! This is exactly what I need.” You may have done the first challenges with gusto. Then a thought like mine popped into your mind. It may have been something like—“How many more challenges are there? I am not sure I can keep going with this mindful eating. I’m getting tired already.” If this thought entered your head, this is normal. We get scared when we start something new and want a crystal ball to see how the rest is going to play out.

I hope you are forging ahead with excitement like I am. Yes, I am doing the challenge right along with you. I would definitely describe myself as a very mindful eater. But, I would not ask you to do anything I wouldn’t be willing (or want) to do myself. A few highlights—pace (challenge #1) is so challenging for many women—we are running from place to place. I find that intentionally setting the pace at a meal is critical to tuning in and really enjoying the food. You don’t have to eat at a snail’s pace. You probably notice that who you eat with makes a difference—a colleague who inhales their food quickly versus a child who plays around with their food.

My favorite is challenge number 5. I’ve had some practice with eating chocolate mindfully. I frequently do a mindful eating exercise in my workshops. There is a brand of ultra-fine dark chocolate that I love by Madecasse ( It’s made in Madagascar and has the most interesting flavors including one with salt crystals in it. I tune in to find the saltiness in the sweet. It’s subtle so if you don’t pay close attention, you miss the best part. 

I was grateful for challenge #6—eating mindfully at restaurants and parties. I went to a small Cinco de Mayo party. There was a heated discussion about challenge #6 being the most difficult for this group of friends. At the party, I personally found mindful eating skills very helpful. I’m a “salt” person and therefore love things like tortilla chips. With mindfulness, I found that I was less interested in the chips (boring) and more intrigued by the homemade mango salsa—yum! 

So, let’s forge ahead. If your mind is telling you, “I’m not sure I can make it the rest of the way,” bring yourself back to this moment. Don’t worry about the future. Choose to act in this moment.  Even if you notice your momentum slipping a little, hang in there. I promise that your energy will be renewed. I did finish the New York Marathon—and you can finish the mindful eating marathon too. We have more great mindful eating challenges to come. 

Feel free to post your reactions to any of the challenges. Post a video, poem, picture, a blog post about yourself doing the challenge—whatever resonates with you. See for a great example!

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See Dr. Susan Albers' new book, But I Deserve This Chocolate: The 50 Most Common Diet-Derailing and How to Outwit Them. She is a psychologist for the Cleveland Clinic and author of five books on mindful eating including 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food and Eating Mindfully 2nd edition (order now!). Her books have been noted in O, the Oprah magazine, Shape, Prevention, Health etc. and seen on The Dr. Oz Show on TV.

Mindful Eating Marathon™

About the Author

Susan Albers, Psy.D.

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. 

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