Conscious Eating

March 24, 2008 at 11:58 pm (conscious eating) (, )

Today, I tried Paul McKenna’s guidelines to conscious eating as much as I could while eating my meals. It was both enlightening and frustrating! It was frustrating because I had to wait forever to get hungry today. I got out of bed at 10:09 this morning, but didn’t eat until after 3PM and I wasn’t so hungry that I overate, either. I most of a Panera half-sandwich (Bacon Turkey Bravo), about half a bag of Doritos, and a cookie. I also drank some Diet Pepsi.

I started off with a serving sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, closing my eyes and taking a bite of the first one. I was struck by the utter lack of “cool ranch” flavor, even though it still tasted pleasant enough. Every time I caught myself chewing quickly, I slowed back down. After four or five chips, I moved to the sandwich.

My first bite of the sandwich was mostly crust, but there was definitely something sweet there, that I’ve never tasted before. Dressing? As I continued to eat my sandwich consciously, I never ran across that taste again. I put the sandwich down in between bites, as McKenna recommends, and tried to really savor the flavors. Again, when I caught myself eating too quickly, I slowed myself down. After a few bites (chewing about 20 times each bite), I began alternating chips and sandwich. I didn’t have any real taste experience with the sandwich, other than the POP of the sweet dressing (I’m assuming) and to discover that the crust is really difficult for me to bite through, so I don’t think I’ll be eating it in the future. The sandwich itself tasted really good to me and the texture was pleasing.

I finished with a frosted sugar cookie. I ate most of it with my eyes closed, rolling each bite around on my tongue, really tasting it. It borders on being too sweet for me! I have one left; I’ll have to pay extra close attention to it.

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Dinner was a zoo! There were cats to contend with; I was a little too hungry; DH is home from work and was chattering to me. But still, I ate my dinner as consciously as possible. I had Moo-Shu Chicken, Gourmet Vegetables, and a slice of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Double Chocolate Chip Cake for dessert. As much as I could, I closed my eyes with each bite, chewed slowly, and savored the food. I really enjoyed what I was eating. It was good. The Moo-Shu was sweet & salty and really had flavor. There were a variety of textures in each bite. The veggies were tender, crisp, and tasted fresh. The veggies weren’t salty enough, so I added a little table salt and it really brought out their flavor. The cake was not too sweet. It has the occasional chocolate chip for texture. The top of the cake, where the glaze has soaked through, is a little sweeter and a bit moister. I’d not noticed that before. I thought, as I started dinner, that I’d have an Easter goody, too, but simply had no room — or desire — for it.

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There is no doubt in my mind that eating consciously will allow a person to eat less. By slowing down the eating process, by chewing more slowly and more often, a person will eat less when her stomach sends the “I’m full” signal to the brain. By savoring her food and really being present with it, she becomes more satisfied emotionally, too, with less food. Will a person lose weight following these guidelines? I don’t know. But these guidelines will help make eating a conscious, directed, mindful activity, rather than one that a person does without thought to purpose. And that’s going to help with my relationship to food, and hence, my relationship with myself.

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