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Out Of Your Mind: Eating With Your Body

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Out Of Your Mind: Eating With Your Body

Think about your last meal. Were you actually there, at the table, tasting your food, feeling its texture as you chewed and swallowed? Or were you in your mind, mentally lining up the next thing on your to-do list, composing an email, worrying about an argument with your spouse, or counting calories and grams of fat? Anytime you’re doing anything but focusing on your food during meals, youíre in your mind. And even though the entire act of chewing, swallowing, digesting and assimilating food occurs in the physical being, weíre rarely around when it happens.

What does it mean to be ďin your body,Ē and why is it so hard to do? I have spent much of my life in a formal meditation practice that teaches us to be present, embodied and in the moment, and sometimes itís still hard. Sometimes, being in the body just isnít as interesting as being in the mind. Itís quieter. Thereís less noise, no drama. The mind is cunning, clever and persuasive, and tells a fabulous tale.

We also feel like weíre more in control in the mind. We can spin our take on situations, weave stories that makes us feel comfortable and safe. And, if you have a body that was ridiculed, neglected, mishandled or otherwise harmed in childhood, in your body is a hard place to be. If your early physical sensations were unpleasant or painful, getting the hell out of your body made way more sense than sticking around to feel. When that happens, it can take time to come back.

Especially to the soft, squishy, most vulnerable middle of itóthe belly. But when it comes to eating, thatís where the actionís at. Many traditional spiritual practices emphasize the hara, the area three fingersí width below the navel, thatís often described as the energetic center of the self. No accident that itís also the digestive center of the body.

But we donít hang around in our soft, squishy centers, or the body in general. We spend most of our lives in our minds; we crash around in our arms and legs, then fling our torsos into bed at the end of the day, with little experience of what those body parts have felt through the day.

Next: 5 ways to get back in your body

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Read more: Eating for Health, Health, Inspired Eating, Self-Help, , , , , ,

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Lisa Turner

Lisa is a chef and nutritionist with more than 30 years of professional experience and formal training in food, nutrition and product development. Sheís written five books on food and nutrition and is the creator of The Healthy Gourmet iPhone app, and has been a featured blogger for many national sites, including Huffington Post and Whole Foods Market. Lisa is a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and also teaches food and nutrition classes and workshops to individuals and corporations. She's a black belt in Ninjutsu, an active volunteer in the Boulder Valley school lunch system, and an avid wild food forager.

60 comments

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6:22AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Thank you. I hold up my (crumby) hands - I was eating bread and ginger conserve when I read this!

2:06AM PDT on Aug 29, 2010

Interesting post, thank you.

3:19PM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

Good article. The hard part is remembering to do it everytime we eat.

8:28AM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

HI all, thanks for your comments ~

Janice, re "I do not really get any sensation from eating, which is one of the most satisfying part of the dining experience. Nor do I feel satiated," isn't it interesting how that works? Even when we're physically full, if we haven't been present for the meal, it doesn't seem to have the same effect.

Gaby, I loved your comments on cooking ~ it's the first step in being present with our food and eating.

And Jessica, I know, isn't it cool when you meet your feet for the first time?

Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

12:09AM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

this is wonderful. Thank you. Simple acts of mindfulness changes our lives in good ways

1:19AM PDT on Aug 26, 2010

Interesting article.Thank you

7:50PM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

Diets don't work - only mindful eating is the way to a healthy natural weight. It is difficult to practice but very gratifying when you catch yourself doing it right :) Thank you for the article, more people need to hear about mindful eating.

2:32PM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

Our body is our suit of armor that takes us every where on this earth that our mind commands it to go.You only have one-take good care of it.

1:50PM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

great post. thanks

12:16PM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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