Mindful Eating and the Bariatric Patient - My Bariatric Life

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Have you ever thought about the food you eat? I don't mean how you think about it when scratching out a grocery list. That is more antiseptic than anything else, the "we need" approach to food. We need milk, we need butter, we need eggs. Pretty dull stuff, but grocery lists were never meant to excite.

    How about cravings then? There must be some thought there, right?

    This is the I-gotta-have-it approach -- I gotta have pizza or I gotta have ice cream. This is not thinking about food. This is as a life and death, nothing else matters, my kingdom for an egg roll obsession about food. It normally ends in a feeding frenzy in which no food group is safe.

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    On the other hand, have you ever reached for the last bite of a favorite snack only to find that you had finished it? It is gone, off your plate and into your stomach with no memory of doing it. This is the eats-like-a-vacuum approach. The thought here is minimal, a few brief recollections that some flavor has crossed your lips.

    The type of thought I am referring to is much more contemplative, an engineered consideration of food that is called mindful eating.

    The Concept of Mindful Eating

    What exactly is mindful eating? A good question and a fair start.

    Mindful eating is elevating the degree to which you pay attention while eating. It is full awareness of internal and external stimuli without criticism or judgment. It is the simple recognition of the thoughts and sensations that accompany eating such as smells, textures, and flavors.


    Mindful eating involves paying close attention to what your body is telling you while you eat such as where you are hungry, where you are satisfied, and to what degree are you full.

    Mindful eating also involves monitoring your mind and taking note of what distracts you while eating, what impulses present while eating, and what moods and emotions are experienced while eating.

    The Origin of Mindful Eating

    Mindful eating is a Buddhist discipline, a type of meditation involving food. It an expansion of consciousness through attentiveness to the sensation and purpose of each bite that is taken. It is meant to expand the pleasure derived from eating instead of the automatic and uninvolved consumption of whatever happens to be on a plate.

    The Art of Mindful Eating

    To begin to train yourself in mindful eating, choose only one meal per day to focus on. When eating, do not divide your time with anything else. This means no multitasking while eating.


    Eat only at the table and take the time to digest and appreciate the appearance of the food that is in front of you. Focus on each mouthful that you take and chew each mouthful thoroughly. Use utensils to eat with and place them down between mouthfuls.

    Share about the meal with others who are eating with you.

    Eat lesser amounts of food but also eat better quality foods. Prepare your own meals, and use fresh ingredients as often as you can.


    Mastery of Mindful Eating is an Important Tool for Bariatric Patients


    As former overeaters, weight-loss surgery patients need to train ourselves to listen to our bodies' hunger and satiety cues (and ignore the emotional cues that previously caused us to overeat before our bariatric surgery). In doing so, we prepare ourselves to successfully navigate our journey to lifetime obesity disease management.

  • Resources

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    New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/mindful-eating-as-food-for-thought.html?pagewanted=all
    New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/mindful-eating-as-food-for-thought.html?pagewanted=all accessed 4/20/12
    Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfu-eating/200902/mindful-eating accessed 4/20/12
    Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net/mindful-eating/ accessed 4/20/12

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    My Story...
    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: May 07, 2012