on 23 August 2009
I am a strong advocate of using natural methods to get my body in balance including being in harmony with food and eating. Like most people out there, I am susceptible to the constant bombardment of messages about food - what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, how many calories I should take in and in what form, don't eat dairy products, sugar is poison, eat more salad, drink 8 glasses of water a day and so on. To the point where the simple and natural act of choosing something to eat and satisfying my body's needs became a source of constant stress for me.
One day I woke up. My own inner wisdom told me that nobody out there, no matter how qualified, can tell me the right way for me to eat. It was time for me to stand up and take that responsibility back for myself. We all know this in our hearts but that quiet peaceful voice has been drowned out by all the noise. This book provides the tools for us to take back our power in this area, to reconnect with what we already instinctively know.
Like me, you might have read many books that tell you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Sounds simple doesn't it? Using the methods in this book, you will discover there are several different types of hunger. You can learn to tune into them. You can learn how to satisfy those that cannot be satisfied with food. Maybe you will learn to be kind to yourself rather than beating yourself up for the way you eat.
This book stands out for me among other books in this genre because the method is simple and I can incorporate it into my daily life without drawing attention to myself. But it's also great for sharing with others, you can even do some of the exercises at the table as a family if you choose to.
Being from the Western world, we like to hear about results. What has it done for me? I now give my body the right foods and the right amounts for me. I am confident that I can choose foods that satisfy me. I don't get overwhelmed about what to eat. Ironically, most of the foods that I craved don't taste so good anymore when I stop and really taste them (I can actually taste the chemicals in a lot of foods - very offputting!). I assess my level of fullness by the feeling rather than the number of calories I've consumed. I can leave food on my plate without being traumatised. Sometimes I overeat but I don't beat myself up about it. My energy levels are soaring. I am relaxed around food and food is fun again just like when I was a little one. Judging by how loose my clothing is becoming, the excess weight is dropping off (but that's just the icing on the cake I now allow myself to eat!)
The method is simple, the power is in the practice. Do it without judgement, without expectation. You might just learn something about yourself.
Good luck on your journey.
on 8 December 2011
Many people in the modern world have an unhappy relationship with food, using it as a drug rather than for simple nourishment. This leads to ill health and much unhappiness. This book shows us, through clear explanation, practical exercises and guided meditations, how to regain a simple enjoyment of food and the ability to know what will truly nourish us in each moment. (It may not even be food - sometimes we eat just because we are lonely, sad or worried.) It is beautifully written, full of humour and wisdom, and explains better than any other book I have read on this subject how to cultivate our awareness of our own unhealthy behaviour regarding food and how to replace it with something better and saner. The mindful approach to eating is enormously empowering - you will never have to buy another diet book. And you will feel its beneficial effect in other areas of your life.
on 6 May 2012
This is an excellent book on Mindfulness, with a focus on developing a better relationship with food.
First, it must be said this is not a diet book. This book promises no amazing weight-loss/gain results through some fad diet or exercise regimen that you take up and drop as soon as the going gets tough. This book is not about changing the outside problem - the particular foods you eat or the fitness routine you adopt. This book is about developing Mindfulness. It is about bringing compassionate, loving awareness to yourself and to the world around you. It's about paying attention to your life, and actually living your life, rather than letting it slipping by unnoticed. As with all Mindfulness practice, the purpose is to develop moment-to-moment, non-judgemental awareness in your life; the benefits that may come in terms of weight-gain/loss, a healthier lifestyle, a reduction in stress, etc. are all 'fringe benefits' to the main practice.
Imagine that - rather than, for example, taking up walking in the park to 'get fit', doing it for a few days, finding it hard, getting fed up with it, and then quitting - you took up exploring a local park, looking around to see what there is to see, enjoying the different trees and flowers, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the warm sunshine or cool rain on your skin. You'd still get the benefits of all the walking you'd be doing, you'd still improve your fitness, but you'd not actually notice you were exercising, because your focus and your attention would be on appreciating what was going on around you. So it is with Mindfulness. You practice Mindfulness to practice Mindfulness; everything else that happens - much though it is - is just a pleasant bonus.
Bays takes her experiences, both as an MD and as a Zen teacher, and combines them to offer a programme of Mindfulness meditation practices that anyone can engage with to develop a healthier relationship with food. Mindful Eating looks at the range of issues currently plaguing our society - from overeating and obesity, to anorexia and bulimia. This is not to say one has to sit at the extremes of this range to benefit from this book; anyone can benefit from using Mindfulness to enrich their experience and appreciation of food.
If you already know or have experience with Mindfulness meditation, then a good deal will be familiar to you - the basic principles of moment-to-moment, non-judgemental awareness remain. But the emphasis on eating and food, so relevant in today's fast-food-focussed, body conscious society, allows for a deeper exploration of that particular area of life.
If you haven't any previous knowledge or experience with Mindfulness, this book provides all you need to fully understand the principles involved. Mindful Eating is a simple, though sometimes challenging, practice, and there is no need for prior knowledge of Mindfulness for you to grasp the fundamentals.
Using a combination of explanations, examples, experiments, studies, and audio guided meditations*, Bays encourages you, at your own pace, to develop a greater and deeper quality of relationship with food and eating. As such, this book isn't about taking up the latest craze or fad diet, or latching on to the current popular celebrity workout - many of which work for only a few people, leaving the rest feeling disheartened and worse than before; it's about becoming more aware of yourself, of the world around you, and about developing your innate capacity for loving and taking care of yourself in the way that's right for you; it's about changing your relationship with your food, and your life, for the better.
*NOTE - Don't worry that the paperback copy includes a CD of guided meditations, which isn't included on the Kindle edition. Inside the book the author gives a link to online mp3 versions of the tracks for those who need them - just use your Kindle to search for 'download' within the book to find the link.
on 17 July 2013
After years of dieting on and off, trying to shift 2 pounds, 4 pounds or even a stone, I had not realised how confused I had become around food. My head had become so full of thinking about food, I wasn't able to enjoy food.
This is simply a wonderful book! I am eating about half of what I did before, not because I am trying to cut back, or using will power, but because I can finally feel when I am hungry, what I might like to eat, and when I feel I should stop eating. I had no idea that I could feel actual joy when eating.
on 22 March 2013
I was so excited to buy the book after having read all the wonderful reviews about it. However, I found that most of the book is a description of what mindless eating is, supported by lots of examples and research. We all know what mindless eating is, otherwise we wouldn't be looking for a book on mindful eating. The part which was useful for me accounts to about one quarter of the book, the rest was a bit pointless. While the author does touch upon emotional eating, she doesn't really give clear guidelines and suggestions how to deal with it without food. There is too much talk around the subject in the book, but I didn't feel that this book addressed emotional eating patterns on a deeper level.
on 6 November 2012
I like the idea of this very much- great to start mindfully eating your food and some of the exercises are really good. I do find the wording quite patronising and basic though, and the first 20 pages or so just tell you what the book is about, which is a bit pointless I think, as you're about to read it anyway.