Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mindful Eating: Three Questions

In our obesogenic environment, mindful eating is a way to curb the impulse to overindulge. The basic idea is to slow down all behaviors related to eating, from your attitudes toward eating and choosing foods, to portion size and the mechanics of eating itself. Tuning into your body and the sensory experiences related to eating in an accepting and nonjudgmental manner are among your goals.

The three questions I really like are from a recent study using acceptance-based therapy (ABT) interventions to facilitate weight loss. In addition to mindfulness, ABT helps you tolerate distress by learning to accept thoughts and feelings without trying to change them, using values to choose behavioral directions and being open to your present experience in the here and now.

The three questions to ask before eating:

1. What is triggering me to eat this food right now?
2. What are my other options for food to eat or behavior in which I can engage?
3. Is eating this food the option I want to choose?

Your conversation with yourself might go something like this.

What’s triggering me? Am I bored, upset or feeling entitled to a special treat?

What are other options? If I’m bored maybe I need to get out and do something…upset, call a friend…entitled to a treat…take time for myself, a hot bath, massage, walk, those would be healthy treats.

Is this what I want to choose? There may be other options that are healthier, more consistent with my eating plan and will make me feel better later. What are those?

Also check out Susan Albers’ website for great info. And get more tips for eating the mindful meal from Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

As Albers says, eat, drink and be mindful. And before you indulge, ask the 3 questions.
To get in the questioning mood, I recommend Questions 67 and 68…Chicago

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