Friday, September 30, 2016

Finding the Joy in Eating: An Experiment

1422520_cherriesIn a recent post on our blog A Weight Lifted, Darla Breckenridge, psychologist and behavioral leader at Green Mountain at Fox Run, shared some thoughts on how we can change our brain with mindfulness.  The overall thrust of the post was that how we repeatedly react to emotional situations causes actual structural changes in the brain that end up, in a sense, dictating our emotions.

That is, when you consistently react to situations with fear, anxiety, panic and more, those emotions become your go-to ways for dealing with difficult situations.

The good news is that this works with pleasant emotions, too. By practicing being joyful, happy and content, we can program our brains to respond with those emotions.

Of course, when it comes to eating, those of us who worry about eating tend to view the process with fear and anxiety.  This experiment in mindful eating, courtesy of Darla, can help reprogram your brain to start to see food and eating as a pleasurable experience.  It can help you reconnect with the joy in eating as well as to hunger and satisfaction cues.

Experiment

1. Choose a food you really, really love.

2. Eat it slower than you ever have before and really be aware of how it tastes in your mouth, how it smells, how it feels sliding down your throat, how it rests in your stomach and makes your whole body feel.

3. Focus on that good feeling for a solid 10-20 seconds. For best results, do this over and over and over again.

Just reading about it makes me want to try this experiment over and over and over again.  And with one of my favorite foods of the season — deliciously sweet bing cherries.

What about you? 

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD, is the owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a pioneering healthy weight retreat for women.  Green Mountain has been working for 40 years now to help women stop dieting and change their focus from their weight to living their lives fully, and achieve health and happiness in the process.

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