Eating meditation offers way to cut fat, calories while enjoying food

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- On the heels of making a New Year's resolution, some look at meditative eating as a way to enjoy food more and worry less about dieting.

It is rare to see people dining together in silence, but one group did just that for good reason.

"Before you take a bite, notice the sensation in your mouth and then noticing the flavor," said Lynne Goldberg, a meditation expert and owner of "OMG I Can Meditate."

"Pay attention to how your body is physically feeling. Just tune in to your belly. Just notice if you're full, if you're hungry and maybe give it a numeric value," added Goldberg.

On a scale of 1 to 10, one being you're extremely hungry and 10 being post-Thanksgiving dinner, Goldberg suggested learning to stop at about seven.

The strategy is just one facet of the practice "eating meditation."

"We're looking at the food itself, we're actually paying attention to the smell," said Goldberg.

Is it sweet, tart, bitter? What about texture? Is it soft, crunchy, seed-like? How does it feel as you swallow?

There is also the appreciation of where the food came from, farm to preparation.

Along with the physical practice, emotions are also involved.

"Is it hunger or is it habit?" asked Goldberg.

Then there is the negative self-talk.

"Maybe it's our parents' voices telling us, 'Finish your plate.' Or maybe it's the other voices, 'You can't have that, you're too fat,'" said Goldberg.

"I feel like that's very mindful of how much food that I'm actually putting into my body. Whereas before, I was eating so fast, I'm chewing less and I just swallow," said Julia Adkerson of Los Angeles.

"I just eat anything and I don't really pay attention to how fast I'm eating. So if I actually take my time, maybe I can make better food choices," said Tiffany Cruz of Covina.

And while you certainly can be mindful and appreciative of your food in a group setting, this activity really works well dining solo.

"Practicing at home is probably an easier way to get started," said Goldberg.

Try starting with a small breakfast at home. When you're out, pay attention to your surroundings. A large group setting helps you realize how you eat when music is loud or someone near you is eating at warp speed.

There's a wide assortment of meditation apps on the market, Goldberg's "OMG I can meditate" app is $13 a month and covers a wide range of meditations beyond your fork.
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