Janelle is among a growing list of people who struggle with fast food, that is, she struggles to get away from it. She finds herself constantly in a hurry, needing to be frugal, and stressed out, and sometimes her GO-GO-GO life means she her source of nutrition is fast food. This is tough for Janelle because she knows that even though it has contributed to her size and she feels physically ill afterward, she finds herself in the drive thru several times each week. Even worse, she has declared psychological warfare on herself as she thinks less of herself as an individual with each meal yet feels a strange sense of euphoria with even the thought of stopping for a quick bite.

Let’s face it, most fast food places we go to eat at are not necessarily in business because they make the best tasting, healthiest foods. The dining experience is usually nothing to brag about either. So, why do we keep shoving money into the pockets of these mediocre culinary institutions? Because we have an emotional attachment to it and we know what to expect. Think about that for a bit.

For more than a decade I have researched what I am about to share with you. I have even conducted a human experiment with a board of three other doctors on this subject. My thoughts about this have been featured in several publications, I published a book on it, and I have presented to dozens of groups as well. Essentially what I am about to share with you is something I have found to be able to stop people from eating too much, too often, and cut down on the foods that are terrible for their bodies.

The secret is: Mindful eating:

Mindfulness is not new, and it has been trending as one of the most popular topics for a while now. Even a recent New York Times article on mindfulness hit #1. The instructions for mindful eating are simple:

  1. Be alone, stop talking to others, and try to clear your mind.
  2. Notice everything about your bite of food before you take a bite. Notice the smell, the look, the texture of it on your lips. Just notice. Do not judge… just notice it. This should take anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds.
  3. When you take the bite, notice how it tastes, the texture in your mouth, the temperature, and all of the flavors that are working together. If you do it right, it will be an experience. I promise.
  4. Chew that bite slowly. Do not just bite and swallow – bite and swallow – wash it down with a drink of coke – bite and swallow (this is the problem, by the way). Really take time to slowly chew your food, allowing all of the flavors to escape and party in your mouth. One bite should take at least 20 seconds and for maximum results, chew slowly and take an entire minute for that one bite.
  5. Repeat until you do not want anymore, and then stop eating and throw the rest away or wrap it up and give it to your dog when you get home.

This method of mindful eating will accomplish several things:

First, it will allow you to gain maximum pleasure and experience from the food you are eating. While it is hot, this will work. Be prepared to find that you may not really enjoy the food after several bites, but that you are discovering how it no longer tastes the way it did before you started mindful eating. You may even become disgusted with it. A fried mozzarella stick may not taste good after the first few bites and that Coke will not have the same allure it did 5 minutes ago.

Second, it will allow your stomach to get some food into it and then signal to your brain that you can stop eating now. This typically occurs after 14 -20 minutes of eating. Can you see how scarfing down a double cheeseburger, medium fries and a coke in under 10 minutes will lead to overeating and gastrointestinal discomfort essentially making you feel like crap?

Third, after one or two experiences where you eat mindfully, taking at least 20 minutes to eat your meal, you will decrease your desire to even eat that fast food again. An experience where you are only able to eat half of your food, whereas before you would inhale it while you payed attention to the road, your kids, the internet, or that guy in the corner of the restaurant who keeps talking to his shoulder, will leave you wanting less and less each time until the mere thought of it, or a commercial on TV will physically churn your stomach. THIS IS A GOOD THING!

All we are doing is slowing everything down to let our mind and body actually taste what we are eating. Less of a desire to eat this type of food will create a greater desire to eat better, eat less, and your reward will be much more than just not feeling like crap.

You owe it to yourself and those that rely on you to try mindful eating for at least two days to see how well it works for you. See what differences there are in how much you eat and how you feel immediately afterward and hours afterward. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

If you have questions, comments, or would like to get in touch for some other reason, please do not hesitate to email me at dr.ansonservice@yahoo.com

Happy mindfulness!