Giving new meaning to food for thought (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Indiana)

Diane Evans: Last summer, while vacationing at Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, I caught a lecture by a psychologist from Florida. I can’t remember what he talked about. But I can still see him, neatly groomed and quiet spoken, telling those gathered about his plans for dinner that night. He had already packed his food in a brown bag, he said. He intended to spend a full hour eating alone in an open, grassy area, where he would chew each bite and savor each taste.

What he described was the practice of eating mindfully.

Recently, a book arrived in the mail from a publisher representing Susan Albers, a psychologist who lives in Wooster, Ohio, and counsels students at Ohio Wesleyan University. Albers is 29, and she has a new book out titled “Eating Mindfully.”

“A lot of students have eating issues,” she said. “Dieting doesn’t work. The key to healthy eating is really controlling your mind and being in touch with your body.”

Albers was first introduced to the concept of mindfulness when she spent a summer as an exchange student with a Buddhist family in Japan.

We all have times of mindless eating. Albers sets forth an approach meant to help break bad habits – so that eating becomes smart and purposeful, something we’re aware of doing, and not something done compulsively.
“It’s also about being compassionate with yourself and accepting yourself,” Albers said when we talked. “Our culture really sets us up to feel ashamed of our bodies and ashamed of ourselves.”

The obesity problem in our nation and world gives new relevance to ideas on how we think of food and our consumption of it. There are many fad diets. The idea of mindful eating is in contrast to quick and easy.

Albers’ book, published by New Harbinger Publications, is available in major bookstores.

[Original article no longer available]

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