Christy Matta M.A. is a trainer, consultant and writer. She is the author of “The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free ...Read More
According to the Center for Disease Control, America has become an “obesogenic” society. We have created and surrounded ourselves with environments that promote increased intake of unhealthy foods and little or no physical activity.
Not surprisingly obesity is reducing life quality and contributing to serious disease for approximately 72.5 million adults. Government agencies have developed a number of initiatives to combat the growing problem of American weight.
How we eat, in an environment surrounded by food seems as important as what we eat. With our busy lives, many eat in our cars, while working, surfing the web (I’ve got a cup of coffee next to me right now) or in front of the TV. We may not sit down to a single meal in a week and focus on the food in front of us. Rather than mindless munching, mindful eating is a way to sit down and be present and aware of the food that you put in your body. Bringing an awareness to the experience of eating, tasting what you put in your mouth and noticing its’ effect on your body can change your relationship with food.
Mindful eating can increase your awareness of the quantity of food you eat, the speed at which you normally eat, what your food actually tastes like (many of us barely taste the food that we’re over-consuming), when your body feels full and the physical effect of different foods on your energy.
Studies have shown that mindful eating can be effective in decreasing binge eating in people who have eating disorders. There is not yet any concrete evidence that it is effective as a weight management strategy. But, whether you need to lose weight or simply want to change the experience of eating, it’s unlikely to hurt.
The following are principles of mindful eating from the Center for Mindful Eating www.tcme.org
Mindful Eating is:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom.
- Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment.
- Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating.