A recent study
revealed that obese people get less satisfaction from their food. In response to drinking a chocolate milkshake, there was less of a pleasure response seen in the brain's dorsal striatum. If a decrease in satisfaction from food increases risk of obesity
, why not teach people to enjoy food?
What makes wine such a hit? (Besides getting you blitzed, that is.) If you were to give a sip of dry chardonay to a three year old, he would spit it in your face. One of main reasons people like wine is they pay attention to it. They savor it - enjoying the aroma, appearance and flavor. Similarly, you cannot enjoy your food if you don't pay attention to eating it.
Mindful eating is the process of fully enjoying ones food. As opposed to stuffing your gullet as you watch the latest episode of Survivor, you enjoy the aroma, taste and texture of the food. As opposed to thinking about your food (it should have more of this or that), you fully experience it.
Start by setting aside enough time to enjoy your meal. Then practice gently and repeatedly letting go of thoughts of how the food should taste and other distracting thoughts, and bring your attention back to the foods aroma, taste, texture and appearance.
Also, be mindful of your sensation of hunger. Before eating, check in to see that you are really hungry. Don't eat just to suppress an emotion or out of habit. As you are eating, put down the fork between bites and occasionally check your level of hunger. Don't wait to stop eating till you can't possibly stuff any more food down your throat. Instead, stop eating when you are about a 6 or 7 out of 10 on a scale of being full. The sensations of satiety continue to increase for another 20 minutes after eating.
For more info on mindful eating check out http://www.tcme.org/ (and there is also a further discussion of this subject in the book Take the Stress Out of Your Life and the accompanying CDs have a mindful eating exercise.)
Learning to make eating a relaxing and enjoyable respite from your hectic day, will increase health, as it decreases your stress and your waistline!