Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mindful Eating

Mindfulness: the process of becoming aware of and attentive to the present moment. What does this have to do with wellness, weight loss, and good nutritional choices? Consider “mindful eating.”

Like mindfulness in general, mindful eating means becoming aware of the sensations of eating—in the present moment. The popularity of fast food, pre-packaged and pre-prepared foods, and drive-thoughs all point out that most of us are not very mindful when we eat of what we eat.

So how do you practice mindful eating? Ask yourself these questions—before you take the first bite. How does your body feel before you even put the food on your plate? Are you really hungry? Are you tired, in a hurry, nervous, depressed, happy or sad? Next, as you get ready to eat, engage your senses in appreciating your meal—how it looks, how it smells, and how it tastes and how it feels in your mouth. Finally, ask yourself how you feel after you’ve eaten the food. It seems like a lot of thinking just to eat a meal, but try it. You’ll probably find you eat slower and eat less, and appreciate what you just put in your body.

Conversely, you’ll probably find that one of the advantages of mindful eating (especially when you’re getting ready to eat something like a greasy piece of pizza to go) is that you might find you don’t actually want to eat it. So, don’t.

Try mindful eating. You might surprise yourself by how much more satisfying and pleasurable food—the choices and amount—can be. And let us know what you think.

1 comment:

Info said...

I would add that mindfulness may also include eating with intention. For example, I often chose to eat mindfully with the intention of feeling better when I'm finished than I did when I started.
Michelle May MD