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Mindless Munching

Posted May 15 2008 10:04am

There’s an interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal called, Putting an end to Mindless Munching. According to the article, Mindful Eating, the art of slowing down and paying attention to what you are eating, is being studied at several academic medical centers and the National Institutes of Health as a way to combat eating disorders and the results are promising.

Some practitioners are reporting that it is life changing for those who want to lose weight too, although the hard data to substantiate this is still lacking. More NIH funded trials are under way to study whether mindful eating is effective for weight loss.

The anecdotal evidence and my personal experience confirm that mindful eating is very effective for weight loss but it’s not necessarily easy in our fast-paced multi-tasking society.

To practice mindful eating is to pay complete and full attention, which means no eating while driving, working at the computer or watching television. It means really tuning in to your body and it’s internal cues which may have been turned off through excessive dieting, reconnecting with your feelings of physical hunger and satiety, eating only when you are physically hungry, stopping before you are completely full, and not using food in an attempt to feed emotional hunger or upset.

Marc David explores this in his book The Slow Down Diet: Eating For Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss that I talked about in a post several weeks ago. His teachings have helped me to slow down and savor my food more often. It’s amazing how much less food it takes to feel satisfied when you tune in and pay attention. Like anything this requires diligence to make it a habit. There are still days I wonder who stole my toast as I try to check email while eating breakfast, but slowly and steadily I am changing my ways.

“Try to eat one meal or one snack mindfully every day,” advises Jeffrey Greeson, a psychologist with the Duke University Health System interviewed in the article. “Even eating just the first few bites mindfully can help break the cycle of wolfing it down without paying attention.”

If you want to Read the Full Article

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