Never Overeat Again!
Abstracted from September '96 Prevention page 81:
- Party for one! This is the approach of Dr. Dean Ornish who wrote The Dr. Dean Ornish Program For The Reversal of Heart Disease. While you eat, don't talk to anyone, read anything or be on the phone. For one minute look at the food. Close your eyes and imagine it, smell it, then bite slowly. Notice all the flavors, textures, the way it feels in your throat. Note different flavors occurring at different times like a symphony in different parts of the mouth and throat. Finally note the aftertastes.
- Take at least 3 minutes to do this, 2 or 3 times a week. The one bite or piece of food that you have will satisfy you as the experience lingers.
- In summary, pay more attention to your food.
Psychologist, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about "raisin meditation mindfulness."
- Turn down the stressful thoughts including thoughts about overeating.
- Take two raisins, spend 5 minutes to eat just one of them. First examine it for one minute. Feel its texture and notice its color. Imagine the grapes growing on the vine, in the field, the sun bathing the raisins, the rain falling, the people who picked the raisin.
- Smell the raisin, pay attention to your arms, lips, and teeth as you slowly put the raisin in your mouth.
- Chew slowly, counting 15 times, experiencing the taste with full attention. Imagine your body now being one raisin heavier. Treat the second raisin the same way. Eat slowly, chew and count. Enjoy all aspects of this.
- Help yourself enjoy the food more. Analyze everything about the raisin, gathering, eating, enjoying, digesting processes.
- Sometimes it helps to open your kitchen cabinet and smell cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, cardamum or nutmeg before you eat. These are very satisfying and "fill you up."
Begin "portion control":
- Set a limit for how much you're going to eat ahead of time.
- Make an effort to increase fiber eating mostly cooked vegetables, a small amount of raw vegetables, and morning fruit plus 4-8 ounces of beans or bean alternatives a day.
- Reduce sweets/fats, such as chicken, meat, cheese, dairy products and cakes, cookies, pastries, standard store brought breads and pastas as well as potatoes, yams, and white rice.
Maximize satisfaction by eating high fiber foods and making an effort to think/feel/taste the food more intensely. Avoid distractions, shut your eyes, involve your nose and when alone, slurp your food. Make a real effort to increase your chewing from 15 to 30 for each bite. See that your food is not too warm or cold. That gives it more taste.
Method of John Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Elizabeth Wheeler of the U. Mass Medical Center's Stress Reduction Clinic.
- 2 minutes before the meals, sit in your chair quietly, take 5 or 6 long deep breaths listening to yourself breath in and breath out, listening as you breath in slowly and breath out slowly. Listen to yourself as you breath in and out.
- 1 minute before the meal turn your attention to the forthcoming food. This is a period of grace that can be religious or contemplative. Think of the origin of the food in the sunlight, rain and earth, other people's labor, working together, the food preparation and that this food comes into your body to nourish you - and smilingly, not stuff you.
- Midway through the meal stop eating and do the listening as you take 5 breaths in and 5 breaths out slowly. Sit quietly, you may not even be hungry and if overweight/satisfied, stop eating.
- 10 minutes after you have finished eating, do another minute of listening to yourself breathe in slowly and out slowly 5 deep breaths. Pay attention to physical sensations the food causes in your body, the pleasant sensations and if uncomfortable, eat less in the future.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD