A male client in his 40s recently told me, “I come home from work around 3PM and the house is empty because my wife doesn’t get home until 11PM at night. I am bored and I can’t stop eating. I wander back and forth between the refrigerator and the couch.
“It’s like my legs are on automatic pilot,” he said with his head hanging low.
If you are on autopilot with your snacking, there is a simple form of meditation that can help curb the snacking and the boredom.
I can meditate and eat at the same time?
If you are like most people, when you think about meditation, you think about sitting down in a dark room with your legs crossed in the lotus position staring into the flame of a candle while you chant, “OHMMMMM…”. Mindful eating takes a totally different approach. What’s more, mindful eating encourages you to enjoy what you are eating, allowing food to be a pleasure.
Mindful eating is the art of slowing down and enjoying what you eat. That means paying attention–really paying attention. The first time I saw a demonstration of mindful eating, I watched a woman in her thirties eat a strawberry–one strawberry–for more than ten minutes.
She used a knife to meditate…
First she pulled out a knife and gently caressed the strawberry with one hand, paying attention to the color and texture of the outside skin of the precious red fruit. Then she began to slice the strawberry slowly, deliberately into paper thin slices. She picked up a small slice of the strawberry, closed her eyes and smelled it before she put it on her tongue.
Just by watching, you could tell that she was savoring the flavor–really savoring the flavor as she let the thin strawberry slice just sit on her tongue for almost 15 seconds. Slowly, she started to chew, pausing briefly between each bite to notice the bursting flavors and textures in her mouth.
Slice by slice she did the same thing. After watching her for 10 minutes, I was sure that she got more enjoyment out of that one strawberry than I had gotten from every strawberry I had ever eaten in my life. All by slowing down and focusing all of her mental energy on each slice, one at a time.
Pay attention to the present moment
You don’t have to like strawberries to meditate, but it should be a food that you enjoy eating. The real key to mindful eating as a meditation is to pay attention to the present moment–not the almost now or the soon to be now, but the right here, right now: what are the textures, flavors, smells of the food. What do you notice as you slowly and thoughtfully chew?
As you are eating, anytime your mind wanders from the now–and it will–gently acknowledge that your mind has wandered and then redirect your attention back to the flavors, textures and smells of the present moment.
Over time, mindful eating reduces snacking, retrains the body and mind to eat differently and gives an antidote to the anxiety-driven boredom of being home alone in the evening.
Mindful eating has also been shown to positively affect the brain, making the brain more resistant to anxiety and stress. Are you willing to try it for 30 days for 5-10 minutes a day?
Utah Hypnosis expert William Wood teaches clients to lose weight and to retrain the brain to be naturally thin. He teaches his clients to use hypnosis, NLP and meditation techniques to effectively lose weight in his Ogden, Utah, office. He also teaches clients world wide via phone and Skype. You can contact his office by calling 801-203-3405.
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