Five tips for National Relaxation Day

August 14, 2012

In our fast-paced world it seems everyone’s stressed, hassled, and exhausted, so it’s a good thing that August 15, 2012 has been declared National Relaxation Day.

When they think about relaxing, most people would tend to hit upon rather conventional things, like soaking in the bath, having a glass of wine at the end of the evening, or watching a movie. But those things are temporary fixes that don’t lead to long-term change. Instead, I’d like to suggest five habits that can be cultivated and practiced every day. These are skills that can become a permanent part of the way you function in your daily life, and bring you long term benefits. And you can … Read more »

Better eating through mindfulness

August 9, 2012

Jill Suttie, Yes Magazine: How can increasing your awareness of tasting, craving, and satisfaction be a tool for healthier eating? Here’s what psychologists have to say.

Deborah Hill used to think she was skinny. Her 5 foot 9 inch frame could take on a lot of weight without making her look out of shape. But last year she was shocked to discover that she weighed over 210 pounds, which classified her as medically obese.

“It was just crazy,” says Hill. “I’d never had a problem with weight.”

Hill is one of a growing number of Americans—over 35 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control—who are considered …

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If you meet the Buddha in the produce aisle, eat him

August 7, 2012

A funny thing: If you go to Google Images and search for “bad Buddhist art” (don’t ask) you’ll find that the first result is of a pear shaped like a Buddha. No, it’s not like one of those potatoes that looks like Mickey Mouse — a freak of nature. It’s a cultivated pear.

And there’s not just one of them. According to, a Chinese farmer called Hao Xianzhang has been growing pears inside Buddha shaped plastic molds. And he sells them. For 50 Yuan, which is, at today’s rate of exchange, just over $7.85.

It’s cute, but I’m not sure many Buddhists would want to bite into the juicy flesh of the Fully … Read more »

Lose weight by making every bite count

April 18, 2012

Alisa Bowman, The Morning Call: Do you wish you could love every luscious bite of food and still lose weight — without dieting? Who doesn’t? While loving what you eat and losing pounds while you do it might sound mutually exclusive, it’s not.

The solution, say researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, is a simple one: Taste what you eat.

When researchers there taught women mindful eating and stress reduction techniques, the women were able to hold the line on weight gain or even to drop a few pounds, even though none of the women were dieting.

“You’re training the …

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Mindful eating: a teacher responds to readers

February 8, 2012

Readers have posted comments on Jeff Gordinier’s article on mindful eating, along with questions for Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, a pediatrician and meditation teacher in Oregon. Dr. Bays, the author of ”Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food,” responded to a first batch of comments.

News Flash — Mindful eating has been practiced for thousands of years by Jews. Prayer of thanks depends on the contents of the food, with multiple requirements on preparation, etc. Not sure why it’s described here as Buddhist, per se — philiphdc, Washington, D.C.

Yes, you are right. Mindful eating doesn’t belong …

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Seven ways to eat more mindfully

February 8, 2012

1. WHEN YOU EAT, JUST EAT. Unplug the electronica. For now, at least, focus on the food.

2. CONSIDER SILENCE. Avoiding chatter for 30 minutes might be impossible in some families, especially with young children, but specialists suggest that greenhorns start with short periods of quiet.

3. TRY IT WEEKLY. Sometimes there’s no way to avoid wolfing down onion rings in your cubicle. But if you set aside one sit-down meal a week as an experiment in mindfulness, the insights may influence everything else you do.

4. PLANT A GARDEN, AND COOK. Anything that reconnects you with the process of creating food will magnify your mindfulness.

5. CHEW PATIENTLY. It’s not easy, but try to … Read more »

Mindful eating as food for thought

February 7, 2012

Jeff Godinier, NY Times: Try this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love — let’s say it’s that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.

Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry.

Today’s experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on …

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“Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life,” by Thich Nhat Hanh

December 28, 2010

On New Year’s Day, many of us will resolve to lose weight. But before we finalise our weight loss plans, writer Mandy Sutter recommends taking a look at Thich Nhat Hanh’s interesting new book, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.

For millions of us, overweight is a seemingly intractable problem. We start diets and exercise programmes with good intentions, and may succeed in losing weight. But our new, low weight is hard to sustain and the pounds creep back on, sometimes gradually, sometimes indecently quickly.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung, authors of Savor, our difficulties aren’t entirely of our own making. The ‘obesigenic society’ we live in makes it tricky to … Read more »

Newest weight loss strategy: Meditate before eating your meal

December 14, 2010

Weight loss needs a reduction in caloric intake, which can be realized by simply practicing some meditation before eating meals, a new study suggests.

The study led by Dr. Carey Morewedge from Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University shows people tended to eat less of a food if they imagined the eating process repeatedly before they actually ate the food. And the study found the more food a person “ate” in his imagination, the less food subsequently he would eat.

In the study, according to what Dr. Morewedge told NPR Science Friday radio program, study participants were told to imagine the process of eating M&Ms, including moving the candies into a … Read more »

Three books on mindful eating: a review

July 5, 2010

The Zen of Eating, by Ronna Kabatznick

The Zen of Eating on,

With so many of us being overweight or having “issues” with food, there’s been a welcome interest in — and a slew of books about — learning to eat more mindfully. Freelance writer Mandy Sutter gives us a “taste” of what three of these books has to offer.

As a former yo-yo dieter, ‘mindful eating’ was an idea I skirted around when first encountering Buddhist practice. It sounded too much like a diet. But the phrase still lurked in a corner, like a giant spider you can’t help looking at. Eventually I had to coax the spider onto a piece of cardboard, cover it with a beer … Read more »