Doesn't it make sense to wait until the holidays are over to talk about mindful eating? There are so many special foods during this holiday season, why don't we just wait until the new year begins?
Mindful eating allows you to maximize the enjoyment of your foods!
Mindful eating is about how you eat and why you eat and not primarily about what you eat. It means eating with intention and without judgement. So does that mean you can eat all you want of anything? Yes! Doesn't that mean that you'll blow up like a ballon? Probably not. Though you might start by gaining a little weight, many find that as they give more attention to their food, learning to savor every bite and noticing when they are full, they slow down and start to eat less
But can't mindful eating be used for weight loss? Yes, it can certainly be an important tool to help with that. However, since our culture is filled with so many calorie-dense foods available all the time, additional approaches are sometimes necessary. The first research studies using mindful eating techniques were with binge eaters and it was found to be very successful with this population. There have been a number of other studies which have shown that it can help with weight loss, diabetes, and a number of other diseases.
So how can you start eating mindfully? Take a deep breath (or two) and understand that it takes practice. Be clear about why you are interested in starting. There are lots of good reasons to eat mindfully. Know what yours are. There are many great books to help guide you in this practice and I've listed two below.
But while you are getting your book or plan together, here are a few techniques that you can try.
> Close your eyes and count to at least 5 (10 is even better) before you put anything in your mouth.
> Notice how hungry you are - quantify it on a 1-10 scale.
> Don't take a second bite until you've completely swallowed the first.
> Try to recognize the various flavors and become aware of
how their intensity changes as you chew.
Mindfulness in all areas of life is beneficial. The American lifestyle is a hectic, stressful one and often results in mindless eating contributing to obesity and many of our other diseases. Enjoy your next meal to the fullest - do it mindfully.
Two good books to get you started.
Eating Mindfully by Susan Alber, Psy D
& Liliam Cheung, DSc, RD
Discover Mindful Eating by Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD
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