By Vicki Shanta Retelny
MINDFUL EATING SEEMS trendy now, but
it’s a centuries-old practice. In today’s fast-paced world, this slow and steady approach to
eating o;ers a solution for weight management and disease prevention.
“Mindful eating is balancing what you eat
with how you eat,” says psychologist Susan
Albers, a mindful-eating expert at the
Cleveland Clinic and author of two books,
including her latest, 50 More Ways to Soothe
Yourself Without Food (New Harbinger Publications, 2015; not available at Costco).
;ink about it: Do you mindlessly eat or
savor each bite? “Shifting into the eating
moment helps you to be more in control of
how much you eat,” says Albers, a Costco member. Unlike fad diets, mindful eating allows
you to enjoy food more while eating less.
Mindful eating has proven to be a powerful practice for reducing binge eating and emotional eating. Research shows that mindful
eaters eat less—about 300 fewer calories a day
compared with others—and that can add up to
gradual weight loss over time. Not only does
weight loss ensue with mindfulness, but it can
help alleviate chronic diseases such as Type 2
diabetes, as well as emotional eating, and this
in turn can help improve quality of life.
“;is is the part that I ;nd the most inter-
esting [about mindful eating],” explains
Albers. “My clients report feeling less guilty
when they eat, enjoying their favorite foods
more and feeling more in control as they stop
letting food dominate their lives.”
If you are ready to start practicing on your
own, here are ;ve simple things you can do to
jump-start mindful eating.
Eat with your non-dominant hand. If
you are le;-handed, eat with your right. ;is
will slow you down, as you need to pay more
attention to details.
Save your favorite food for last. We
tend to have very poor memories when it
comes to eating food. If you eat your favorite
food last and savor it, you are more likely to eat
less later, because you remember what you ate.
When you eat, just eat. Do not multi-
task when you eat. Put away the book. Turn
o; your phone. Focus on the food, and you’ll
enjoy it more.
Notice your chewing rate and slow
down, as there’s a tendency to unconsciously
chew at the same rate as others. Intentionally
eat slower than others, or stagger your bites.
Mindfully take each bite by noticing
the taste, texture, smell, sound and feel of the
food on your tongue. Embrace the very ;rst
few bites, as those are usually the best. C
Vicki Shanta Retelny, a registered dietitian
nutritionist, is an author, speaker, culinary
consultant and mindful-eating aficionado.
She blogs at simplecravingsrealfood.com.
ALL YOU NEED for this is a small piece of
chocolate or a mini chocolate bar (although
this exercise can be with any type of food).
1. Notice the weight of the piece of chocolate in your hand. Look at it closely.
2. Observe the shape and color. Use at least
three words to describe it to yourself.
3. If you’re unwrapping it, listen closely to
the crinkle of the foil or paper.
4. Bring the chocolate up to your nose and
inhale deeply. Notice what thoughts come
to your mind as you do this. The smell of
chocolate can bring up some powerful
feelings and memories.
for your health
Mindful eating with chocolate
In our digital editions
Click here to watch Susan Albers
explain five points of mindful
eating. (See details on page 11.)
5. Do any critical thoughts come up, such as,
“I shouldn’t eat this.” If so, let the thoughts
come and then go as if you are letting go of
6. Place the chocolate in your mouth. Notice
the flavor, richness and texture. Pay attention
to how the sensations change as it melts and
molds to your mouth.
7. Follow the sensations as the chocolate slips
down your throat into your stomach.
This is how you can eat chocolate mindfully. It
takes practice. Notice how different this is from
popping pieces of chocolate mindlessly into
what you eat
with how you eat.
“Mindful eating ‘
“with how you eat. ‘ DR. SUSAN ALBERS
© SHU T TERS TOCK/JOSH PERICK; ILLUS TRATION: © SHU T TERSTOCK/MILOJE
Slow it down to savor the flavor