Eat Slowly. Appreciate Every Bite. See What Happens.

…For my next step I made an appointment with Alexis Conason, Psy.D., a New York City psychologist who runs an eight-week program on mind-body eating awareness. But before she started my training, she told me to stop obsessively tracking every calorie. I needed to listen to what my body told me to eat. “You may be craving a banana because you’re low on potassium, but you don’t hear that message because you’re so disconnected from your body,” she said. Then Conason took me through an eating exercise in which I would notice how my fullness and satisfaction changed after each bite and rate it on a scale of one to 10. I was excited when she cut up pieces of a brownie — one of my favorite foods. First, she encouraged me to take several deep breaths and check in with my body. Then she asked me to admire the bite of brownie and smell it before placing it in my mouth. I had to move the piece around in my mouth and notice the flavor and texture before I bit into it, pausing again before I chewed it, all the while reflecting on how much pleasure it gave me. I was shocked at how many steps there can be to eating a bite of food and how the taste changes over time and in different corners of my mouth. At first I felt a little silly, but the exercise made an impact on me. By the fourth bite I honestly didn’t want anymore. I was brownied out. As I left Conason’s office, she encouraged me to stop dieting for a week. If I just continued to eat mindfully, it didn’t really matter what I chose to consume. I almost laughed as I thought, “Well, she doesn’t know me and caramel corn.” Within a few days I had a PMS-fueled urge to make the world go away with a box of butter toffee popcorn with nuts. Sure enough, after several long bites in which I let the sugary coating dissolve and the popcorn collapse on my tongue, I was actually content to stop…

Read Full Article