An Eating Epidemic
Eating in America is often rushed, squeezed in or done while multi-tasking or even on-the-run. We’re pulled in multiple different directions by what may seem like more important demands, so we eat what we can, when we can, and without much planning, thought or consideration.
We may be distracted by television, work or mobile phones while we eat. Have you ever been in the middle of a meal and started to reach for another bite, only to realize you already ate the whole thing but don’t remember tasting any of it? This is just one example of mindless eating.
The alternative to mindless eating, “mindful eating,” taps into the Buddhist concept of mindfulness — or, simply put, being present — and encourages us to be more fully present and enjoy our meals. The goal is to shift focus away from external thinking to internally exploring the experience of eating.
The good news is you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to benefit from mindful eating. A small yet growing body of research suggests a slower, more thoughtful way of eating can help with weight problems and could even steer some people away from processed food and other less-healthful choices.
A Few Benefits of Mindful Eating
- Lessens overeating and binge eating
- Reduces body mass index (BMI) and total body weight
- Copes with chronic eating problems such as anorexia and bulimia, and reduces anxious thoughts about food and your body
- Improves the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes
Mindful eating begins with replacing the quantity of eating moments with a more quality eating experience — and minimizing the distractions that compete for our attention. In today’s busy world, this hardly seems practical, but I have little doubt it’s a critical piece of the puzzle for building a healthier food future.