I have taught and practiced mindful eating for many years now. What I find most meaningful is that when I slow down and pay attention, so much about life is revealed.
The approach to food I learned as a child becomes illuminated in new ways and subtle beliefs about eating can be brought into the light. When this happens, I can make new, often healthier choices about my relationship with food. Mindfully paying attention creates the opportunity to bring mind and body together in a mutually beneficial exchange of information regarding what brings pleasure and satisfaction and what suits my body’s needs. I also find that the appreciation of the fruits of the natural world reinforces my connection to the earth.
In our culture, so much of the richness that comes from food and eating is taken for granted or neglected. Mindfulness can bring that richness back as well as provide opportunities for personal knowledge and reflection.
Mindfulness is a very powerful way of unraveling the confusion, the compulsions, the anxieties, and the habitual patterns people have around food. When people I work with are willing to invest time into slowing down and paying attention in specific ways, what is revealed can be life altering.
For example, Rita joined me for a guided mindful meal. When she began attending to the taste of each bite she noticed she habitually ate foods she did not actually like, simply because they were on the plate in front of her. Six months later she reported back to me that she had stopped “wasting calories” on foods she didn’t really enjoy, and she had lost the extra weight that had been bothering her for years.
Sasha Loring, M.Ed., LCSW is a psychotherapist, stress management consultant and mindfulness teacher. She has created mindfulness programs for Duke Integrative Medicine including co-creating the Mindfulness Training for Professionals Program and the Changing from Within mindful eating program. She is co-author of The Mindfulness Manual for Bariatric Surgery (a program that has been taught through eMindful internet education). She has also developed programs for and taught at UNC Integrative Medicine and Duke Diet and Fitness Center. She has been interviewed for the Wall Street Journal, Body and Soul Magazine, and for the eMindful internet education website.
Sasha Loring has led many mindfulness retreats and workshops on topics such as Healing Your Relationship with Food, The Healing Power of Mindfulness, Mindfulness and Compassion, and Mindfulness and Stress Reduction. She is the author of Eating with Fierce Kindness: A Mindful and Compassionate Guide to Losing Weight and Relief: Release Stress and Harmful Habits and Awaken Your Best Self.
About our Mindful Eating Series. This series offers a range of tools to help you restore mindfulness and kindness to your everyday eating. Eating is an opportunity for mindfulness that arises quite naturally several times a day. Taking on practices of mindful eating can be extremely helpful in promoting healthier eating habits, as well as greater peace of mind and joy.