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Mindful Eating

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Old 09-16-2003, 10:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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Rikimaru HB User
Post Mindful Eating

Something that works for me is a concept from Buddhism.. mindfulness. Now, often, Buddhist monks will shovel their food down quickly, so as not to become "attached" to the food.. (i.e., this is good, that's bad, lemme have seconds of that). Of course, we're not monks, and most aren't Buddhist (me being one exception).. but the idea of mindfulness (being cognizant of the moment, yourself, your surroundings, etc.) can be of help when trying to control one's weight, especially through portion size.

One reason more people, particularly Americans, are so fat is because we have so many distractions, even while we eat. It seems to be getting harder and harder to find a basic restaurant that doesn't have a TV in it (this is a pet peeve of mine.. have we really become so incapable of going 5 minutes without the boob tube?). People will answer their cell phones sitting on the toilet, so talking while shoveling food into their gullet is not unheard of.

With all of these distractions taking us away from the experience of dining, is it any wonder we continue to eat more and more at each sitting? On top of this, society continues to laud the value of quantity over quality. More cheap food is better than quality food in smaller portions.

With this in mind, I have applied what I call "mindful eating." Now, I don't attempt to become one with each grain of rice or anything, but I do try to enjoy the experience of eating. I especially apply this when I go out to eat. When an entree is set before me, I don't just pick up the fork and start shoveling away. I look at how it has been arranged on the plate.. the colors and textures in the food. I take time to smell it, and take in the mixed aromas. I think about what I am going to eat, and what I am going to save *(see below). When I do start eating, I take the time to really take in the flavors... what seasonings were used to create this taste? What is the texture of the food?

Basically, I try and really be aware of what I'm eating and the experience it offers. This turns dining from a mindless sitting at the trough to an experience for all of the senses. By taking time to really enjoy what I'm eating, I eat less.

*Footnote: I lost almost 15 lbs alone just by controlling my portions when dining out. Most entrees at restaurants like Chili's, Olive Garden, Outback, etc., are actually 2-5 serving sizes. Take one of my favorite Outback dishes as an example.. the grilled chicken. Outback and chicken is like Dolly Parton.. they both have huge breasts. So, when I get the chicken, I immediately cut it in half and set part aside. I enjoy half of the chicken breast, and take the other half home. That way, I've cut my calories back at one meal, and have leftovers for another. Rather than enjoying a tasty dish once and over eating, I get to have it twice!

Hope this helps some of you.

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