Learn A Few Tricks To “Mind”-ing What You Eat

Mind-ing What you EatLosing weight can be hard work.  You lift the weights and run, bike or walk the miles but are you “mind’-ing what you eat?  Even though you watch what you eat, the weight stubbornly refuses to budge.  Maybe the problem is how you eat.

“Mind”-ing What I Eat?

Essentially, being aware of the habits you’ve developed when you eat.  For instance, do you watch TV or use your cell phone while eating dinner?  Do you take 10 minutes or less to ‘throw down’ a full course meal?  If so, you should consider learning about the power of awareness when you eat.

Consider this example from Mark David, author of The Slow Down Diet and founder of The Institute For The Psychology Of Eating:

A client, a doctor of oriental medicine, sought David’s help for digestive issues.  David began with the client’s diet.  The client regularly ate:Mind-ing What You Eat

  1. Two Egg McMuffins for breakfast
  2. Two Big Macs for lunch
  3. A couple pieces of pizza for dinner

The client ate each meal in his car, while in traffic.  He was not willing to cook for himself or give up his fast food.  David’s told the client to continue eating each meal with one caveat.  He had to:

  1. Park the car
  2. Take at least 20 minutes to finish the meal &
  3. Breathe deeply throughout the meal

After 2 weeks, the client contacted David.  The results?  His digestive symptoms disappeared.  But moreover, he discovered that he actually HATED Big Macs!  Can you believe that?  Now ask yourself this question.  What food are you eating OUT OF HABIT?  Worse yet, do you realize it?

How Do I Eat With Awareness

Thinking about eating as you eat isn’t as easy as it may sound.  “Mind”-ing what you eat a process to develop and there’s more to it than just taking a deep breath between forkfuls of your favorite Chinese take-out.  Being aware of what you eat while you eat it involves all your senses.  It’s an exercise that takes intentionality.  According to Healthline, it involves:

  • eating slowly and without distraction
  • listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full
  • distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating
  • engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors
  • learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food
  • eating to maintain overall health and well-being
  • noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure
  • appreciating your food

"Mind"-ing What You EatThe idea is that your entire body, mind, soul and spirit is interested in the food on the plate.  Ideally, you want to:

  • Notice every part of your plate
  • Take in the smells
  • Look at the colors

Notice how your body responds to these sensations.  THEN, take your first bite and:

  • Think about the texture of the food, how it feels in your mouth.
  • Can you taste the different spices, flavors and so on?

So, whether you sit down to a romantic dinner for two or the Friday night special for your crew, make your meal more than memorable.  Make your meal mindful!

Additional Resources

9 Nutritional Strategies from The Slow Down Diet

8 Steps To Mindful Eating from Harvard Health

Why You Shouldn’t Scroll Through Your Cell Phone While Eating from CNET (Audio)

Why We Like The Foods We Like from The American Psychology Association


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