I have talked a lot about mindfulness in this column and I wanted to share this article by U of I diabetic intern Andrew Dinsmoor, which focuses on mindful eating. Andrew says: Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, known for founding the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Mindfulness may be practiced anytime, including while eating. Mindful eating means paying attention to the body and the senses when eating, in the present moment and without judgment. To read more about the principles behind mindful eating, visit The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) at www.thecenterformindfuleating.org. TCME also offers webinars and teachings on mindful eating as well as a list of research references.
A popular hands-on way to learn about mindful eating is through the “eating a raisin meditation.” Duke Integrative Medicine provides a mindful eating exercise, where one can use a raisin or food item of their choice. After trying a mindful eating exercise, you may notice that mindful eating invites you to slow down and take more joy in your food. The practice suggests taking an attitude of beginner’s mind. Meaning, even if you have already eaten thousands of raisins before, you eat this one raisin as if it is for the first time — and without judgment.
Unlike most things we do in life, there is no goal to attain when eating mindfully. However, mindful eating may naturally provide benefits. Since mindful eating allows you to become more aware of when you are full or hungry, you may eat more in sync with your body’s needs. For example, a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis, which uses agreed upon scientific methods to report findings from a group of studies on a topic, suggests that mindful eating is effective for weight loss and is as effective as dieting strategies aimed at caloric restriction.