by Cheryl Wassermann, Licensed Professional Counselor

Mindful eating is a way of eating that creates a whole new relationship to food. It allows us to pay close attention to the wisdom of our bodies as opposed to the judgmental, harsh and simultaneously demanding, insatiable voice in our head. It allows us to calm ourselves before we begin a meal so that we can be totally present for the experience. When we pay such close attention to the process of eating, we notice that we are satisfied with much less food. The struggle with food fades away as we learn that we can actually trust ourselves to use the internal wisdom that we all have just waiting for our mindful attention.

Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a bag of chips and suddenly, or so it seems, your fingers are hitting against the greasy bottom of the bag? This is an example of mindless eating. We seem to have been on auto-pilot, eating without awareness.

Often new clients come into my office saying, “The problem is that I love food too much.”
If we love food so much why do we eat while driving the car, reading a book, or while watching TV? The problem is not only that there is no awareness of the food, but there is no awareness of the body so that we can follow the cues it gives us about hunger and fullness. We just eat and eat until the food is gone. We relinquish control of our food intake amount and allow whatever amount is piled onto our plate to determine how much we consume. With today’s super-sized portions, that can automatically lead to weight gain.

Mindfulness is defined as paying attention on purpose to what is happening in the present moment without judgment or, in other words, being aware of what we’re doing while we’re doing it, letting go of any judgments.

When we slow down, take a few nice, deep breaths and bring ourselves into the present moment, we automatically calm ourselves and begin to notice what was there all along but has been out of our awareness. We are able to savor our food so that we can eat like a food connoisseur as opposed to a food glutton, stopping when our bodies are satisfied.

In my next article, I will discuss how mindful eating helps eliminate emotional eating.
For more information call 314-991-6730 or visit online at www.mindfuleatingforlife.com.

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