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Mindful Eating

Ae you a "Mindful" eater or a "Mindless" one?

September 12, 2012

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I’ve just learned about an old concept that I have never heard of before called “Mindful Eating,” and it fits perfectly with the concepts behind Diets and Other Unnatural Acts.  Google “Mindful Eating” and you will find pages of references.  Mindful Eating as Food for Thought, published in the New York Times by Jeff Gordinier is just one of the
many articles I recently discovered covering this fascinating concept.

Before I get into the concept of “Mindful Eating,” I want you to  take a minute and recognize that the opposite of “Mindful Eating” must be mindless eating.  Yes, many of my patients eat without giving any thought to why or what they are eating (or even if they are truly hungry or not).  Yesterday, I was shopping in Garden Fresh.  I had eaten 1 hour before going to the store (you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach) so I was not hungry! While walking through the store, I was assaulted by multiple sampling stations which were dispersed throughout the store, offering up tantalizing morsels of goodies.  I was mindful not to partake as I am actively working on being healthy.

On entering the bakery department, the scent of fresh baked bread was overwhelming and my “mindful” willpower melted.  I bought a fresh Challah and proceeded to devour ½ of it.  Mindless eating is unhealthy and expensive.

“Mindful Eating” (ME) involves being aware of what you put in your mouth and why.  ME allows you to start eating when you are hungry and stop when you are not.  The article noted above starts with “Try this:  place a fork of food in your mouth.  It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love – let’s say it’s the first nibble from hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.  Now comes the hard part.  Put the fork down.”

Putting the fork down can be very hard.  In the busy world we live in, meals are often consumed in a hurry.  I just shoveled my lunch in.  Did I enjoy it?  No, I didn’t.  Did I eat more than I should have?  Probably?  I mindlessly devoured my lunch so I could get back to writing this article and seeing patients.  So much for teaching an old dog new tricks.

Renee, tonight at dinner, help me be mindful of what I’m eating. Remind me to put down my fork and actually chew my food.  Remind me of all the benefits of being healthy and “Wellthy.”  Then, when I’ve been good and proven that you can teach an old dog new tricks, throw me a bone!

www.livewellthy.org

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