The essence of one bite

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

How many times have you gulped down the delectable cookie talking to you from the bakery shelf only to realize you were bamboozled by its sales pitch? Now you wish you had chosen a different mouthwatering delicacy. What if you could experience this awareness with your first bite? I teach people how. I teach people mindful eating, its essence inherent in my byline “Mind-Body Awareness, One Bite at a Time!”

What is the inherent essence, the indispensable quality, the fundamental nature of mindful eating? Is it the simple behavior of chewing and swallowing one bite of food before you plop another into your mouth? What tells you to stop eating if you do not like it before you eat it all?

Young children, even before they can speak, defiantly refuse to take another bite of something they do not like. Their lips resolutely clinched shut and their head doggedly shaking “no”, they easily win the battle over whoever is trying to force feed them. What gives them such resolve to successfully refuse even one more spoonful despite mom or dad’s futile efforts to nudge their clinched lips open?

Now fast forward to adulthood. You are once again holding that delectable cookie with the enticing sales pitch. Will you be bamboozled again? The answer to this depends on your commitment to the essence of mindful eating.

Before taking your first bite, consciously tune into your mind-body. This reawakens your inborn ability to sense, to feel, to know all of your experiences. In this case you want to explore your experience of taste.

With your awareness peaked, take your first bite. What do you think? Is there the promised “bang for the bite”? Are you in your seventh heaven? If so, enjoy your first bite making it last as long as possible before your next delicious bite. However, if you know without a doubt that you do not like it, you have a decision to make. Do you finish the cookie or let it go?

Your decision depends upon your commitment to respect what your mind-body is telling you. This is no sales pitch! This is mindful eating’s inherent essence, its fundamental living quality. This is you, aware in your body, aware you in your mind and aware in your life. And like a young child yet as an adult, you choose to respect it – all of it.

Dr. Cullman coaches people in individual and group sessions in Perrysburg and Bowling Green. She conducts presentations, seminars and personalized retreats upon request. Call 419-494-7699 or email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com to learn more. See all her columns at www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman.