Feb 14

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating uses the ancient art of mindfulness, or being present, to help cope with modern eating problems. It’s not a diet. There are no menus or food restrictions. It is developing a new mindset around food. Mindful eating can help binge eaters as well as many other eating issues. During the past 20 years, studies have found that mindful eating can help you to 1) reduce overeating and binge eating, 2) lose weight and reduce your body mass index 3) cope with chronic eating problems such as anorexia and bulimia, and reduce anxious thoughts about food and your body and 4) improve the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.
Mindful eating slows you down, makes you more aware of portion sizes and helps you get out of negative, automatic food habits like overeating while watching your favorite TV show.
It helps you reconnect and track your hunger and fullness, reestablishing the link between the body and mind.

  • Mindful eating plugs you back into your body’s cues so you know when to stop and start eating.
  • It brings about better management of your emotions.  When you have healthier ways of coping, such as mindful breathing and letting go of anxiety, you may no longer manage your emotions through your food choices.
  • Mindfulness changes the way you think.

How to get started –

  • This article gives you a brief summary of eight books that can help you to eat more mindfully.
  • Check in with each dimension of mindfulness.  When you eat, ask yourself these questions:
  • Mind:  Am I tasting each bite or am I zoned out when I eat?  Download awareness checklist here.
  • Body:  How does my body feel before and after I eat?  Low energy?  Stomach rumbling?  Full?  Empty?
  • Feeling:  What do I feel about this food?  Guilty?  Pleasure? Joy? Disappointment?  Regret?
  • Thoughts:  What thoughts does this food bring to mind?  Memories?  Beliefs?  Myths?  Fears?

By Dr. Susan Albers

Mindful eating is a habit that takes time and practice to develop.   Mindful eating simply means becoming truly aware of your food and your setting and yourself by paying attention.  In a recent article in The New York Times it quotes Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, a pediatrician and zen teacher and author of Mindful Eating:  A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, as saying this is an anti-diet.

The Center for Mindful Eating describes the mindful eater as someone who knows there is no right or wrong way to eat, just different degrees of awareness of the eating experience.  Practicing this type of intentional eating develops an awareness of the direct link between eating and feelings of health.  You will naturally choose items that allow you to feel better.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.mental-physics.com/2012/02/14/mindful-eating/

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