Mindful eating vs. mindless munching

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal (May 13, 2008) provides an excellent overview of the growing body of information about “mindful eating.” Two quotes from the article will give you an idea of what all the excitement is about:

Chronic dieters in particular have trouble recognizing their internal cues, says Jean Kristeller, a psychologist at Indiana State, who pioneered mindful eating in the 1990s. “Diets set up rules around food and disconnect people even further from their own experiences of hunger and satiety and fullness,” she says.

“Try to eat one meal or one snack mindfully every day,” advises Jeffrey Greeson, a psychologist with the Duke program. “Even eating just the first few bites mindfully can help break the cycle of wolfing it down without paying any attention.”

The article highlights research which demonstrates that mindful eating can reduce binge eating. Research to test whether mindful eating can be taught in a way to help people lose weight or maintain a desired weight is underway.

Here are some more links to sites and books that discuss mindful eating and mindless munching:

Emindful

The Center for Mindful Eating

The Mindless Method program (Dr. Wansink)

the CAMP System (Control, Attitudes, Mindful eating, Portions)

book: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (by Brian Wansink)

helpful blog post on Emotional Eating and Mindful Eating

blog: Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful

book (by me): Weight Management for Your Life

There are many other resources and books about mindful eating, but these should get you started (I don’t have any direct experience with the programs listed above, but they look interesting; I do know Brian Wansink is an expert in the field of eating behavior).

I agree that mindful eating can be a powerful tool and one of several ways we can take more control over our lives and the decisions we make.

Please write a comment about your experience with mindful (or mindless) eating.

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6 Responses to “Mindful eating vs. mindless munching”

  1. DR Says:

    It’s amazing that every January, we are presented with a wide array of different diet books telling us to eat carbs, eat no carbs, all pineapple, low glycemic, and so on and so on, but very little help on how to stick with their diet.

    Other than Judith Beck and the I Can Make You Thin guy, the cupboard is a little bare when it comes to taming the cravings.

    I look forward to reading your posts. This may not sound like a compliment, but you don’t write like most of the M.D. blogs I have seen.

    If you are interested, I posted on this subject here – http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/how-to-beat-emotional-eating/

  2. Susan Albers Says:

    Dear Dr. Goldman,
    Thank you for mentioning the eat, drink & be mindful blog in your posting. I appreciate your efforts in spreading the world about mindful eating! I enjoy reading your blog!
    Best,
    Susan Albers
    http://www.eatingmindfully.com

  3. Tara Rockey Says:

    Thankyou for posting several legit sites regarding mindful eating in one place. I saw a report on NBC Nightly news recently and have been looking for more information ever since and get tired of slogging through the junk that pops up in my search. I love my support group at normaleating.com – but it sometimes makes weight loss seem too complicated. The articles I’m reading on eating mindfully give no real room for misinterpretation – and no reason not to practice – other than that it takes effort. I’m putting in the effort. And excited about it. Keep spreading the word!

  4. rick Says:

    Thanks for this…it says it all …and very well.

  5. Bono Black Says:

    Is eating only every other day good for you?

    • Charles Goldman Says:

      See my recent post for a discussion of how often to eat https://charlesgoldman.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/how-many-times-a-day-should-we-eat/ .
      There appears to be little research on every-other-day fasting as a long term lifestyle. I am not interested in short term diet approaches to weight management; almost anything can be shown to work for someone on a short term basis. The respectable medical/scientific literature suggests three meals a day, every day, is a sensible minimum. More that that leads to increased caloric consumption, and less than that (e.g., skipping breakfast) correlates with being overweight.

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