Combatting obesity with mindful eating
“You fold a tiny raisin into your hand, perhaps thinking about the journey it made to reach you, farmers planting seeds, nature providing water…” In a July 13, 2012 blog on the Huffington Post, writer Amy Spies tries out the mindful eating techniques espoused by HSPH’s Lilian Cheung, editorial director of The Nutrition Source website and co-author, along with Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, of the 2010 book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.
Eating more slowly and relishing each bite could help people eat less and eat healthier, according to Cheung. The simple techniques involved in mindful eating—eating without watching the TV or computer, eating in silence, chewing slowly, taking breaths between bites—can help us focus more on what we are choosing to put into our bodies, and why, says Cheung.
Spies, a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Leadership Council, also quotes the work of HSPH’s S. Bryn Austin, who directs the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED). Austin draws links between the obesity epidemic and the rise in eating disorders, and argues for greater efforts in prevention.
Lilian Cheung: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life (HSPH video)