Addressing the idea of “good” and “bad” foods once and for all, a slew of new books on mealtime as meditation are challenging conventional diet thinking. Is it possible that the key to weight loss is not about what you eat, but the way you eat it?
Once upon a time in America, people ate three separate meals a day. Sitting down, at a table. When they ate, they talked to other people and did not eat or even drink anything until the next time they sat down at a table, with people, four to six hours later.
Today, as we perpetually graze, eating while we at our desks or in front of the TV–seemingly uncomfortable to travel more than 2 blocks without clutching a cup of coffee or a water bottle–the idea of proper mealtimes does indeed seem like a tale from a long forgotten time. But like all winning fairy tales, at the heart of it is common sense, simplicity and truth.
Rising obesity rates, type 2 diabetes in children, and perhaps just as pressing, a growing sense of restlessness evident in just about everyone you meet, all point to the need for a shift in thinking. Eating “mindfully,” savoring every mouthful and connecting to the simple pleasures of the table are great ways to avoid weight gain and slow down our increasingly frenetic-paced lives.
Here are 3 of the best books that tackle the issue, providing some simple tools to get started, and help you discover what you’re really hungry for:
1. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food By Dr. Chozen Bays
Drawing on her research and experiences as a physician and meditation teacher, Dr. Jan Bays offers a book full of advice on how to use the power of awareness to understand the seven types of hunger. The book includes a 75 minute audio program with the author’s guided exercises for getting started with mindful eating.
2. Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth
An engaging story of Roth’s journey of compulsive dieting that led to her gaining and losing more than 1,000 pounds in 17 years, that finally ended when she resolved to never go on another diet again. Inspiring women to nurture the emotional needs that are at the root of binging and restricting patterns of self-abuse, Roth’s book is a humorous, comforting and deeply affective read.
3. Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. By Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung
In the tradition of the Buddhist practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta), Nutritionist Dr Lilian Cheung and world-renowned mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn show us how to tune into our body’s own wisdom about what, when, and how much to eat while developing a sense of compassion for the struggle so many of us have with eating.
Top Image: Mike Johnson, TheBusyBrain.com