September 12, 2012
I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve just learned about an old concept that I have never heard of before called “Mindful Eating,” and it fits perfectly with the concepts behind Diets and Other Unnatural Acts. Google “Mindful Eating” and you will find pages of references. Mindful Eating as Food for Thought, published in the New York Times by Jeff Gordinier is just one of the
many articles I recently discovered covering this fascinating concept.
Before I get into the concept of “Mindful Eating,” I want you to
take a minute and recognize that the opposite of “Mindful Eating” must be
mindless eating. Yes, many of my patients eat without giving any thought to why
or what they are eating (or even if they are truly hungry or not). Yesterday, I
was shopping in Garden Fresh. I had eaten 1 hour before going to the store (you
should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach) so I was not hungry!
While walking through the store, I was assaulted by multiple sampling stations
which were dispersed throughout the store, offering up tantalizing morsels of
goodies. I was mindful not to partake as I am actively working on being
On entering the bakery department, the scent of fresh baked bread was overwhelming and my “mindful” willpower melted. I bought a fresh Challah and proceeded to devour ½ of it. Mindless eating is unhealthy and expensive.
“Mindful Eating” (ME) involves being aware of what you put in your mouth and why. ME allows you to start eating when you are hungry and stop when
you are not. The article noted above starts with “Try this: place a fork of
food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something
you love – let’s say it’s the first nibble from hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked
ravioli. Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down.”
Putting the fork down can be very hard. In the busy world we live
in, meals are often consumed in a hurry. I just shoveled my lunch in. Did I
enjoy it? No, I didn’t. Did I eat more than I should have? Probably? I
mindlessly devoured my lunch so I could get back to writing this article and
seeing patients. So much for teaching an old dog new tricks.
Renee, tonight at dinner, help me be mindful of what I’m eating. Remind me to put down my fork and actually chew my food. Remind me of all the benefits of being healthy and “Wellthy.” Then, when I’ve been good and proven
that you can teach an old dog new tricks, throw me a bone!