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:
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
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.