Mindful eating: an Anti-diet Be BETTER has thought long and hard about what the first Be BETTER health Challenge for 2014 should be. We decided that the best way to enter the New Year isn’t to starve yourself by going on an extreme diet; it is to be mindful when you eat. People become obsessed with what they are eating but very rarely focus on how they are eating.
What does it mean to practice mindful eating? It means to actually taste the food you put into your mouth, to appreciate the food and feel the food in your mouth. It means giving your food your full attention and not being distracted by the television, the computer or the phone. It is noticing the smells, colors, tastes and texture of your food. This week, see if you can turn “mindless” eating into “mindful” eating, creating BETTER habits for a BETTER body.
We love this quote: “Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity when it's done to satisfy hunger. The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle is not just about what you eat. How you eat matters just as much.” (Am I Hungry.com)
According to Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, mindful eating is “anti-diet.” He declares that the fundamental problem is that we go unconscious when we eat. Have you ever come home from a long, stressful day at work, and all you want to do is sit in front of the television or computer and enjoy your favorite snack? Before you know it, the television program is over and the bag you are holding is almost empty. You sit there, thinking, “How did I eat that entire thing? I don’t even remember eating it or enjoying it.”
When we eat mindfully, it helps us become aware of the food we are putting into our bodies. More then that, it helps us enjoy the food we put in our mouths by tasting and connecting with it. It helps us appreciate the fact that food gives us energy and nutrition.
- Are you even hungry? Pay attention to your body and ask yourself if you are even hungry yet.
- Choose food that you enjoy. To eat mindfully doesn’t mean eating what is “right” and hating the experience. You should enjoy the experience of eating food.
- Take away the distractions. Give your food your full attention. Take away the distraction of television, phones, work, etc. Focus on the food.
- Do not eat on the go. Sit down and actually stop for a minute. Be grateful for the opportunity to stop and enjoy your meal.
- Remember to breathe and bite. Take a couple of deep breaths before you start eating, and chew your food up to 25 times before you swallow.
- Appreciate the smells and texture of the food. Don’t be scared to put your fork down once in a while during the meal.
Mindful eating is the first step to becoming a better you. Please feel free to post.
Great additional articles
New York Times, Mindful Eating as Food for Thought (Feb 2012)
Psychology Today, Mindful Eating (Feb 2009)
Am I hungry, Mindful Eating: Get Out of Autopilot