QuestionQuestion

Background:
Much of what we eat is eaten without thought about what we are actually eating, which has been referred to as ‘mindless eating’. Somewhere along the line, many of us have stopped listening to our natural body signals for hunger and satiety. Listening to and responding to these innate signals is essential for long-term weigh control. This assignment asks you to complete a mindful eating exercise. You will likely be most successful if you do this exercise by yourself. You need to be in a place that is free of distractions i.e. put the books away, turn off your computer, cell phone and television.   
Purpose:
• To explore the feelings of true physical hunger and how the body responds to eating
• To mindfully eat a meal or snack
Procedure:
Adapted from Mindful Eating Exercise created by Shirley Wade-Linton RD
Use the worksheet (next page) to write your responses during the exercise:
Step 1: Check your level of hunger. For this exercise to work you need to be physically hungry. What are the signs of physical hunger? Rank your level of hunger on the following 10-point scale. Complete this exercise if you are a 4 or below.
Step 2: Set out or prepare whatever food you wish to eat. Make sure that the foods are appetizing, i.e., ones that you know that you want to eat before you see them. These questions might help you select foods if something doesn’t immediately come to mind.
• Appearance: Do you want something to eat and/or drink? Do you want something cooked or fresh? Do you want something colourful or bland? Etc.
• Aroma: Do you want something aromatic or non-aromatic? Any specific smell? (there are hundreds of types of aromas, e.g., https://world-food-and-wine.com/describing-aroma)
• Taste: Do you want something sweet? Salty? Spicy? Sour? Umami (savoury)? Bland?
• Texture: Do you want something smooth? Crunchy? Creamy? Noisy-something that pops and crackles when you chew?
• Temperature: Do you want something hot and substantial? At room temperature? Cold?
If you take the time to ask yourself these questions you will have a clearer idea of what will satisfy you than if you just open the refrigerator to see what is there.
Step 3: Once your food is prepared, and you have set a place for yourself at a table, begin by carefully observing each item as if you had never seen it before. Are you noticing any details that you typically would not?
Step 4: Smell the item that you would like to eat first. Close your eyes and smell it. Notice any reaction that you have.
Step 5: Put the food in your mouth, and slowly begin to move it around your mouth as you begin to chew. See if you can notice any different flavours when it is in different parts of your mouth. What is your mouth telling you about the food?
Step 6: Notice any sound that the food makes when you bite and chew.
Step 7: Swallow and notice if there is an aftertaste. Do you like it?
Step 8: If you are eating many foods, eat one bite of each food in the same manner as you did the first- smell it, taste it in different sections of your mouth, listen to it, check for an aftertaste after you swallow
Step 9: Step 9: Rate each food and beverage on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most favourite and 1 the least favourable).
Step 10: Eat slowly and smell each bite before putting it into your mouth. Put your fork down each time before beginning to chew. Eat only foods on your plate that you ranked as 8, 9, or 10
Step 11: Keep checking your level of hunger. Stop eating when you reach level 5 on the hunger scale- neutral (neither hungry nor full). If you are unsure if you have had enough, eat 3 more bites then stop and check your hunger level again.
Step 12: When you reach level 5, pause a moment to notice what your body is experiencing. What is your mind saying to you?
Step 13: For this one exercise, once at level 5 on the hunger scale pick up your plate and discard any food remaining on your plate in the garbage/compost. Notice how you feel about throwing food away.
Step 14: Complete the ‘Mindful Eating Exercise Worksheet’ including the foods that you put out to eat, answers to the questions asked throughout the exercise in steps 1 to 13 and a summary of your experience completing this exercise and overall impressions of this exercise.

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