Monday, February 7, 2011

Mindfulness in Relationship to Eating

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of being aware; it is a process of observation and attention in the flow of changing stimuli and perceptions. Mindfulness means being in the moment, present, and being engaged with your awareness.

So, you're asking, what does mindfulness have to do with eating? Well, I'll start with saying that seeing only engages one of our senses. But food is a powerful experience that engages all of our senses; this is why we are so easily seduced by the sight, smell, and taste of food (this is also why most grocery stores strategically place the bakery at the front of the store). Use mindfulness to create the relationship that you want to have with food; observe your thoughts and senses while eating; let nothing escape your awareness. Next, pay attention to your thoughts as you eat, don’t let anything escape your conscious awareness. Enjoy every bite and when you’re satisfied, stop eating. I’ve also learned through trial and error that food eaten at a table is better for me than food eaten hunched over at my desk, at the counter, or driving in my car. Eating at the table allows me to pay attention to my food and appreciate it more; it also keeps me from being distracted and overeating out of habit. Oh, and just a reminder; I'm not a huge fan of dieting. Why? Simply because diets don't work! Eating well and taking care of yourself is a lifestyle choice and successfully changing your eating habits is a lifelong commitment. When you deny yourself that pie, ice cream, or chips, then you create an opposite and equal (or greater) desire for what is being denied. This is simple cause and effect. Instead, slowly practice healthy moderation in place of denial; this lets you slowly change a habit, by taking one less bite of offending food—and one more bite of desirable food—than you did the meal before.

As always, bon app├ętit!

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