For most Americans, relationships with food are emotional things. We don’t just eat because our body needs fuel. We eat when we’re sad, when we’re tired, when we’re bored… the list goes on. We certainly don’t only eat foods that nourish our bodies and promote our health. Oftentimes, the foods we turn to for comfort are not the ones that are best for our health. Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables are typically considered an obligation, not a source of enjoyment.
Our lives are fast-paced and full of multitasking. Meals are often taken in front of the computer at work and in front of the television at home. Fast food is a staple. Caffeine is a must-have for many people just to get through their day. Unlike many other countries, the United States doesn’t slow down to take meals. In some occupations, there is practically no time for lunch.
These habits do have their consequences; about 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. Many of the leading causes of death are largely preventable and brought about by unhealthy lifestyles.
So what is the answer?
Obviously, we can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. A rather droll joke is that this is the definition of insanity. Instead, we must change our habits to bring about improvement in our diet, in our health, and in our life.
To change our habits, a change in thinking must be made. A change in actions will follow. One way to think differently about food incorporates the concept of “Mindful Eating.”
Mindful eating promotes appreciation, attentiveness, and awareness while eating. By changing the way you think about food, your relationship with food will change, affecting your eating habits and food choices.
This isn’t something I’ve just made up for the purpose of this blog; there is even a Center for Mindful Eating that provides information and seminars on the topic. You can find their website here. Here is their summary of some of the changes that occur with the practice of eating more mindfully:
· learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues;
· learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods;
· valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating;
· appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food;
· feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food
For the next few entries in this blog, I will be exploring the practical application and health benefits of eating more mindfully. Check back tomorrow for some tips for on how to incorporate this concept into your lifestyle.
Thanks for reading!