Peace of mind seems particularly elusive these last few weeks. This is especially true as we stay plugged into all that is going on outside of ourselves and the noise we experience internally. For instance, a lot of what’s happening in the news is more likely to impact us or someone we know (e.g. unemployment, the BP oil spill….). This can create a more palatable sense of unease.
Throw this onto feeling overly busy and its hard not to feel revved up all the time. When getting caught up in this, we just want to keep moving onto the next item on the “To do list” and eating can become just one more thing to care of over the course of a day. Maybe when the day is over, dinner (and desert) are the rewards. Whether we want to admit it or not, many of us just want those rewards to keep coming….So you can see where this is going.
Eating under these circumstances can contribute to digestive issues, weight gain and even trouble sleeping (especially if eating late at night). Some ways to turn this around lie in the integration of mindful eating practices. Mindful eating helps us reconnect to the sensory experience of the food and how that food affects the body. One aspect of mindful eating is how it re-educates us to really taste our food, because often we just “inhale” the meal in front of us. “Scarfing things down” leads to taking larger or multiple portions because we are seeking more of the taste of something. The sensation of eating is so strongly associated with pleasure that we don’t want it to end.
If we are able to fully taste our food and have the experience last longer— the sensory centers of the brain become satisfied to the point where the desire for a 2nd or 3rd helping diminishes and thus, loses its power over us.
Mindful eating is actually a very old concept that is coming back into the public consciousness. Several books have been written on the topic including attention given to it by Thich Nhat Hanh in the Miracle of Mindfulness. Overall, mindful eating is clearly a piece to living a more healthier and balanced lifestyle.