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What is Mindful Eating?

written by: Anurag Ghosh • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 9/20/2011

In order to tune yourself emotionally with the foods you consume, you will have to teach yourself to follow the concept of “mindful eating" - a concept to satisfy your mind and body. Here are few more tips on healthy eating habits that can change your lifestyle.

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    According to researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical Centre’s comprehensive weight control program, people who are depressed, lonely, bored and stressed eat uncontrollably not because they are hungry - they eat to overcome stress and boredom. Whether conciously or not, many believe that eating can cure stress as their mind is diverted to something “healthy”. Little do they know that this habit can add to their stress levels. In such situations people need to learn to change their eating habits and reduce the stress in their life.

    Years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School popularized a mindful-based stress reduction program. “Mindful Eating” branched out from this popular program and since then has many followers. According to the experts at the Weill Cornell Medical Centre’s Comprehensive Weight Control Program, Mindful Eating teaches us to associate our emotions with our eating habits. It connects spirituality with our eating habits and allows us to slow down while munching and focus on the taste and smell of the food we eat. It encourages us to be familiar with hunger and eat attentively. Therefore it helps to overcome stress and eventually shed those extra pounds.

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    "Soul" Food

    Here are few tips to enter into more healthy and soulful eating habits:

    1. Refrain from munching food while standing up. Sit down and focus your attention more on eating.

    2. Do not gobble up food hastily. Take some time to relish your meal. Remember that it takes almost 15-20 minutes for the brain to get the message that we have eaten to our heart’s content.

    3. Make a habit of eating with your family and friends together. Don’t watch television while eating (even if it’s your favorite soap opera, there is always a repeat telecast some other time). Turn off the TV or computer and focus on your food.

    4. Consuming foods as a result of physiological, social, or emotional signals can have adverse effects on your body. Overeating can increase the stress level, eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied rather than full.

    5. Uncontrollable eating can be easily solved if you rate hunger on a scale of 1-10. If you rate 1 or 2, you are quite hungry and are starving. If you rate your hunger above 6 or 7, then you are quite full, so there’s no need to eat. You can play this simple rating game to refrain from overeating.

    6. Stop trying to lose weight with “fad diets”. Losing weight is not that complicated and can be achieved with with simple workouts and balanced, healthy eating habits.

    7. Go for foods that contain more water and fewer calories. Fruits and Vegetables fit right into this category.

    Many, many years ago, the spiritual guru Osho very thoughtfully said, “Eating should be a meditative experience. Let it be a prayer and you will start the rising of a new consciousness in you”.

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    References

    “Mindful Eating” http://www.mindfuleating.org/MindfulEating.html

    “How to Master the Art of Mindful Eating” http://zenhabits.net/mindful-eating/

    Put Your Hunger on the Scale - Annie Cuthberth M.A. Licensed Professional Counselor (http://www.foodisnottheenemy.com/putyourhungeronthescale.html )

    Further Reading:

    Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Jan Chozen Bays, MD)

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