Now that the Holidays are over, it’s time to take stock of where we are and how we want to be in this New Year. My New Year’s resolution is to ALWAYS practice ‘mindful eating’.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and help the body get into that lovely ‘rest and digest’ phase of being which so promotes health and well-being, is to practice being ‘in the moment’. This is especially true for when we are actually eating. In Medical School we learned that eating while standing, watching TV, reading, gulping down food in a hurry and other poor eating habits, actually causes disease. That it is not only what we eat, but how we eat that determines our health.
Now, I don’t mean to imply that we should solemnly or humorously concentrate on each bite we eat. Rather, to really pay attention to our food as we eat it. Smell it, feel the texture as we chew. Allow the taste to permeate our beings. Remember how wonderful it was to eat a watermelon in summer when we were kids? Like that. Appreciative focus.
Now, this ancient wisdom has actually been backed up by Western Science. A recent study divided participants into 2 groups. Group 1 was served a meal with no distractions and Group 2 ate while watching TV or solving a puzzle. They rated their ‘satisfaction’ of their meal and the distracted group were ‘less satisfied’ and did not fully remember what or how much they ate. They also consumed more calories than the distracted group. Also noted, several hours later the groups attended a meeting where there was a table of snacks. You guessed it, the distracted group ate significantly more of the offered snacks commenting that they were hungry.
I usually do try to be mindful while I eat. I try to set aside enough time for a leisurely meal, savor the flavors of my food, and appreciate what I eat. However, as a member of this society, I have also eaten while working at the computer, eaten while driving the car, and other poor habits. So this year, I will make an effort to stop the last of my poor eating habits and be mindful each time I eat. We’ll see how it goes.
For those of you who are trying to actually lose weight this year. Taking the time to be fully present with what you eat may be all that you need to do. Has anyone tried mindful eating? What was your experience?