June 10, 2010

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a practice that engages all parts of us—our body, our heart, and our mind—in choosing, preparing, and eating food. It immerses us in the colors, textures, scents, tastes, and even sounds of drinking and eating. It allows us to be curious and even playful as we investigate our responses to food and our inner cues to hunger and satisfaction.

Mindful eating is not based on anxiety about the future but directed by the actual choices that are in front of you and by your direct experiences of health while eating and drinking. Mindful eating replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing. It replaces shame with respect for your own inner wisdom.

- Jan Chozen Bays, "Mindful Eating" (Summer 2009)

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phyllis segura's picture

Basically, if you can tell me what you had for dinner yesterday your mindfulness is happening. If you ate dinner and five minutes later you can't remember doing it, no mindfulness, though full belly. Choosing and preparing is perhaps mindful cooking, eating is another story altogether. Just enjoy your food and be appreciative and your mind will follow. Click in.

Mumon's picture

I think Chozen's heart is really in the right place here, and anyone who's met her knows she's a deeply caring person.

I do question the idea though that in general there is self-criticism associated with eating for which mindful eating is a cure which brings self-nurturing.

It's the old chicken - egg problem to me regarding the self-help syndrome: if you think you need it you seek it out, but if you don't think you need it then you don't seek it out. Moreover, there's a way to step outside this cycle: Mindfulness simply transcends this conundrum. It is self-nurturing indeed, but one need not engage in the introspection of questioning whether there is or is not an inner critic to derive it's benefits.

Too many words, too many thoughts.