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eating consciously

Eating Consciously 101: 5 Tips for Making It Count

When you first start trying to pay attention while you eat, you may find it difficult, especially if you aren’t in the habit. In a way, it’s comforting to eat mindlessly. You don’t have to think about your choices or take responsibility for your actions. Oops — the bag of cookies is empty? Oh, well! You missed the experience, but you don’t have to feel guilty if you barely remember eating those cookies. Or do you?

If you pay attention to your food, you will discover a whole new world of pleasurable sensation that far exceeds the comfort of mindless eating. Don’t graze your way mindlessly through life. Make it count. Here are some tips for learning how to eat more consciously:

1. Tune in to your food preparation, no matter how simple. Appreciate the process, whether you are cooking a fancy meal or scooping ice cream. If you make half a turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese on whole-wheat bread, pay attention to what you are doing and make what you are making special.

2. Taste your food. This is very important. If you eat food and you don’t pay attention, you’ll feel as though you didn’t eat. Then you won’t be satisfied. You’ll want to eat more. It’s a vicious circle, and you need to stop this bad habit now. It takes two seconds to shift your attention to what you are doing and taste what you are eating. Then, the food will register as an experience and it will stick with you.

3. Chew your food slowly and well. You can taste your food better if you chew it all the way, and you’ll digest it better, too. This is a big reason why I take longer to eat than most of my friends, and the result is that I eat less.

4. Notice when other people aren’t paying attention. Soon you will become aware of how people eat mindlessly while cooking, nibble through a whole box of crackers, or pick food off other people’s plates. I can’t stand seeing people picking at food while they cook (or while I cook!). It’s not pretty, and it’s certainly not what naturally thin people do.

5. Be a bit of a food snob. If you really pay attention to your food, you’ll start noticing when it doesn’t look appealing or doesn’t taste very good. Then you’ll be in a position to turn down food that doesn’t meet your standards.

This is an excerpt from Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel, available on Amazon.com.

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