When you eat mindlessly, in response to cravings, you tune in to the environment. This kind of craving-triggered, mindlessly-initiated and mindlessly-conducted eating puts you out of sync with your own body and your own mind. Hunger-based, mindful eating reverses this process: it is a chance to tune it to yourself, a chance to self-synchronize. When you eat out of hunger (and mindfully), you tune in to yourself. But you don’t have to just take my word for it: test it out. Contrast and compare mindless craving-driven eating and mindful hunger-driven eating.
First try a whole day of craving-based mindless eating: eat each and every time you have a craving and when you do eat, eat mindlessly (distract yourself the way you usually do – read something, watch TV, etc). Notice a process of social and environmental synchronization. When you eat in a craving-driven fashion and mindlessly, you eat each and every time the environment presents you with a powerful enough stimulus to elicit a craving in you and you are paying attention to the environment rather than to yourself. As a result, you become attuned to the environment, eating in sync, as if line-dancing with a crowd of strangers. Everybody eats, and you eat. And you sort of disappear: you don’t feel yourself, you become invisible to yourself.
And then try out an entire day of mindful, hunger-based eating: eat only if you are hungry and eat mindfully (put the distractions aside, focus on the food and the process of eating). Notice a sense of tuning in to yourself, a process of self-synchronization (synchronization with your self), when you mindfully eat in a hunger-driven manner. While you begin to feel progressively out of sync with the environment (everybody eats, but you don’t), you begin to appreciate a sense of your behavior becoming synchronized with your intentions.
Notice what feels better to you.
Adapted from Eating the Moment (Somov, 2008)
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Last reviewed: 15 Jun 2013