“Mindfulness” is a buzzword these days—the latest fad based on ancient precepts. Yoga, of course, is a mindful practice now entrenched in modern culture. "Mindful meditation" (which sounds redundant) is taking hold. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about mindfulness in psychotherapy. And you've probably started hearing talk of mindful eating. Although the utility of mindfulness for weight control is not yet proven, a study funded by the NIH did find it helpful in controlling binge eating.
Few relationships are as complex as the one we have with food. We love it we hate it, we veer from overcontrolling with restrictive diets, to out of control with Mint M&Ms (my addiction). We know what we should do. But why we don’t do the right things is a riddle wrapped in an enigma dipped in secret sauce, and it appears connected to everything from socioeconomics to scheduling. For example, if calorie counts were listed on fast food menus, the thinking went, we’d make better choices, getting Little Macs instead of Grandes, and a cellophane packet of strangely preserved apple slices instead of French fries. Or not. I’ve been rummaging around in research about doing the right thing, eating-wise, and it is complicated.
I’m delighted to join the PsychCentral team and would like to take a moment to introduce myself and this blog. I’ve always been interested in psychology, but life took me this way and that, and I didn’t pursue a BA in the subject until I was in my 40s. (Note to anyone in midlife considering returning to college: totally worthwhile. It was great fun, and it’s taken my writing career in exciting new directions, including this blog.) I worked in a couple of research labs while in school--one in developmental psychology and one in speech cognition--and found those experiences absorbing and enlightening. Science can be an inexact science. There are myriad nuances to designing studies, executing them, and interpreting the results. How were terms defined? Who were the research subjects? Is there more than one way that the results can be interpreted, and what are the implications of that?