December 13, 2011

Have you been working on becoming a more mindful eater?  Nearly 90% of our Cooking Light community said they were trying to be more mindful (6% wasn’t sure what that even meant).  So what does mindful eating really mean? 

We asked our readers to tell us the changes they were making to be more mindful.  Here’s what they said:

• Enjoying all foods in moderation, not labeling them as “good” or “bad”
• Recognizing other reasons I eat besides hunger, such as stress or boredom
• Slowing down when I eat, savoring every bite
• Eating without any distractions
• Only eating foods that I really love

    I also talked to some of the country’s leading experts on mindful eating for the 12 Healthy Habits book and here’s a sneak peek at some of their advice:

    Michelle May, MD, Author, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat
    Founder of AmIHungry.com

    “Dieting is like weeding your garden with nail clippers; it’s a difficult, endless, futile chore that will never get to the root of the problem. Until you know the real answers to why you’re eating when you’re not hungry or why you continue the eat-repent-repeat cycle, you're doomed to repeat those behaviors again and again. Mindful eating allows you to put away your nail clippers so you can get to the root of your issues and cultivate the habits you really want.”

    Linda Bacon, PhD, Author, Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight

    “Mindful eating means your body is in charge.  You make choices that help you feel good, eating what you want, when you want. You don’t fight or resist your environment. Instead, you have natural brakes in place to make sure that you don’t eat out of control. Sure, you see delicious food around you, but if you’re not hungry, you’re not as tempted by it. And you don’t feel deprived by not eating it.”

    Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD,  Nutrition Therapist, Co-Author, Intuitive Eating

    “Being a mindful, or an intuitive eater, means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat.  It means chasing away those thoughts that you can’t have certain foods or you’re “bad” when you do.  Knowing that you can eat what you want with attunement will help you avoid feelings of deprivation, which often leads to uncontrollable cravings and “Last Supper” overeating, then overwhelming guilt.”

    Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, Blogger, A Weight Lifted

    "If you give up the idea that certain foods are forbidden, you may find that you don't want them as much as you thought you did. You may also discover that you’re satisfied with smaller amounts when you do eat them.”

    Martha Beck, PhD, Life Coach, Author, The Four-Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace

    “When you do fall into unconscious eating, it’s absolutely crucial that you forgive yourself.  Because we tend to remember what we did wrong, it helps to replay it in your mind with a different outcome. It’s a way of rehearsing that behavior so it replicates more easily.  Instead of going ‘Ohhh I did this wrong thing.’ Imagine it again only this time imagine yourself doing what you would prefer to do…getting a few wonderful bites, enjoying them, savoring them and feeling full.” 

    Tell us the ways you’re becoming a more mindful eater?  What changes have you been working on, and what successes have you had?