Mindful eating

"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."

Photo by Marth★.


This morning I'm re-reading a fascinating, compelling academic paper:  Permission to Eat: A Dietitian’s Journey with Mindful Eating. The author, Nicole Spencer, Registered Dietitian and MEd candidate, describes mindfulness and mindful eating in this way:

Mindfulness has been defined as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally (Ludwig & Kabat-Zinn, 2008). The goal is to keep oneself in the present and observe and ponder the sensations that arise to facilitate a better understanding of one’s situation rather than focus on the past or the future (Ludwig & Kabat-Zinn, 2008). Mindfulness approaches are designed to create more willingness to incorporate new ideas without judgment and utilizing multiple perspectives in one’s problem solving (Langer, 2000). Essentially, mindfulness is an approach that increases awareness and facilitates a skillful response to destructive behaviour and psychological pain (Bishop, 2006).

Mindful eating is under the umbrella of general mindfulness strategies with the focus centered in food and the eating experience. It is defined by paying attention to an eating experience with all our senses (seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, feeling); witnessing, without judgment, the emotional and physical responses that take place before, during and after the experience (Hammond, 2007). The goal with mindful eating is to support a shift from fighting and feeling deprived with food, to feeling satisfied with and enjoying food (Satter, 2009). The focus is more on how to eat, and less on what to eat (Satter, 2009)

[excerpt from pages 10-11 in Permission to Eat: A Dietitian’s Journey with Mindful Eating copyright Nicole Spencer, Simon Fraser University, Summer 2009.]

Last week Nicole shared via the British Columbia dietitians' and nutritionists' listserv ("Gerry's List") the paper's appendix of annotated resources. I'm thrilled she's also given me permission to publish it on Greens & Berries. By doing so, Nicole hopes "to expose more dietitians and dietetic students to the concept of mindful eating and increase many professionals’ knowledge, interest and abilities with the education strategy."

Appendix B: Mindful Eating (PDF) from the paper Permission to Eat: A Dietitian’s Journey with Mindful Eating by Nicole Spencer, RD, MEd candidate.