How to swing a fork!

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

“Mind-Body Awareness, One Bite at a Time!” contains the essence of mindful eating. Another way to say mindful eating is “eating awareness training” and, in principle, mindful eating is a skill that requires training. Yes, training! Only here, instead of a tennis racket, you are learning to swing a fork!

Tennis requires focused attention. Such focused attention is also the crux of mindful eating; however, in the “sport” of mindful eating you pay attention to a delectable bite of food. You swing your fork into a bite and are rewarded when it gets in your mouth, just like you do when you swing your tennis racket into a ball and score.

What is surprising, perhaps, is that this is the beginning of the “sport” of mindful eating. And even more surprising, you were all mindful eaters as children! Yes! All of you were mindful eaters as children, because children naturally follow the inclinations they are born with.

When you were a child, there was a time that you ate what you liked, spit out what you did not like, clinched your lips and shook your head, “No!” if more was offered. You did not clean your plate. Instead you ate when you were hungry and stopped when you’d had enough. These are not rules! These are children’s natural inclinations, and at one time in your life they were your natural inclinations. Where did they go?

The good news is that you still have all the natural inclinations that you had as a child and you can relearn them! You can learn to skillfully taste the food you love and kindly say no when offered food you do not like or are too full to eat. You can relearn sensing the natural physical sensations of hunger, satisfaction and “way too full”. You can even resign from the “clean your plate club” knowing that the waste on your plate will do no good on your body.

I can teach you to pay attention while you eat in order to relearn your natural mindful eating inclinations that you had as a child. Then, perhaps you will have energy for other inclinations you had as a child, like running around and playing tennis, or going for walks, or playing catch with your own child…

If you would like to learn more about mindful eating please let Ellen know! The next eight-session group begins April 5th (free intro – March 29th) at 975 Commerce Dr., Perrysburg. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699, The Mindful Eating Coach, to schedule an appointment.