“Awareness of the moment is when change begins.” www.tcme.org
Food is our friend but our food saturated environment (potlucks, “drive thru” fast food, order out pizza, food laden checkouts and donut filled break rooms) makes healthy/aware eating a huge challenge!
Mindful eating involves… deliberately paying attention and experiencing the pleasure of food more fully.
- Learning to begin and end a meal with a curiosity for levels of hunger and fullness and use these as a guide to begin or stop eating.
- Learning personal triggers for mindless eating such as emotions (boredom, anger, happy), life pressures (deadlines, lack of sleep), or compelling foods (favorite “yummies”).
- Focusing on quality of food above quantity. A CONCI patient who is maintaining says “A teaspoon of sugar is too much and a thousand teaspoons are not enough.” Allow yourself to explore, see, smell, taste and savor your food.
- Using all your senses! Sight – focus on color, texture, shape
- Smell – take in the aroma before first bite
- Taste – let the food linger, savor, delight
- Texture – feel shape, roll in mouth
- Hear – crunch, munch and let it pop!
Dr. Jan Bays, MD/pediatrician and author of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship With Food has some helpful tips:
- Begin with an appetizer. Don’t just dive into an entrée but tame your appetite with a small salad or fresh crispy celery with PB.
- Control quantity. This is especially true for favorite dishes. Place suitable portion on a plate with other low calorie/filling items like non-starchy veggies and put away leftovers.
- Focus on real food not processed food. Just think whole grains (brown rice), legumes and vegetables (bean salad) and grilled/baked meats versus macaroni and cheese that slides down your throat.
- Don’t multi task! Women are especially skilled at this! We chow down more while reading, doing email, driving and watching T.V. Eating while distracted is also “under the radar” so we are less satisfied and eat more.
- Take breaks while eating. Put down your fork or sandwich and sip a beverage in between bites. Savor, enjoy and have good conversation. Perhaps eat with your non-dominant hand.
- Eat as though you are a guest! Make eating an event with music, cloth napkins and a pretty place setting. Avoid eating out of a leftover container while standing near the sink.
When Eating Too Quickly May Kill You – Bottom Line’s Daily Health News – Carole Jackson
Q: How quickly do you eat breakfast and lunch?
Q: Are you the first to finish eating when with friends, family and co-workers.
Q: Do you tend to eat the next bite of food before completely chewing and swallowing the last bite?
Q: Are you often eating “on the run”?
If you can relate to these questions, you may be at risk for Type 2 DM.
In Lithuania, endocrinologist, Dr. Radzoviclene found that individuals who rated “eating faster” than those around them were 2.5 times more likely to have Type 2 DM. Since it takes ~ 20 minutes for your body to note being full, your pancreas pumps out extra insulin to deal with extra calories and thus an increased chance of diabetes.
“Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent – all must be tasted” – Chinese proverb
“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” Ecclesiates 10:10
-K. Barrows, PhD, RD