Today, one of my so-called friends looked me up and down and said, “You should practice mindful eating.”
“What’s mindful eating?” I asked.
“It’s a powerful way of personal thinking and self improvement,” she replied. “It will help you lose weight while also allowing you to cope with your emotions.”
“Do you think I need to lose weight?” I asked, somewhat taken aback by her boldness.
She laughed in my face.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she replied. “Of course you do.”
“How much is it?” I asked, trying to control my temper.
“Oh, no! no, no, no, no!” she snapped. “You can’t buy it! First, you have to buy into it.”
“Sounds like a pyramid scheme,”
She smiled at me with the confidence of a substitute health teacher and replied, “Mindful eating happens when you pay attention to what you are eating, why you are eating, and how fast you are eating.”
“You mean I have to think about what I’m eating instead of just enjoying it?”
“Let me ask you,” she continued. “Do you want to enjoy your food or do you want to be healthy?”
“I want to do both,” I replied.
“Good answer!” she said dramatically. “If (long pause) that is the truth and if (another pause) you put yourself under my supervision, I can help you,” (emphasis on the ‘you’) “do just that.”
“Ok,” I said. “Let’s pretend like I’m interested. What do I have to do?”
“First of all,” she said, “You have to start eating slower.”
“Eating slower? I grew up with three hungry sisters around the table. In my family, if you ate slowly, you didn’t eat much.”
“You are no longer growing up and you are obviously eating in more places than just at the dinner table!”
I looked down in shame. “How can you tell?”
“Isn’t it obvious,” she replied while pointing at my gut. “Can you at least try to slow your eating?”
“Well,” she answered. “Try chewing every bite thoroughly and thoughtfully.”
“You want me to chew thoughtfully?”
“Exactly,” she said. “Take time to focus on what you are eating.”
“How can I focus on it if it’s in my mouth?”
“This isn’t an eye test, John.” she replied. “Think about what is in your mouth. Chew eat bite 25 to 45 times to improve swallowing and digestion.”
“You’re joking right?” I asked.
“Chewing your food thoroughly allows for all of the flavor to be released into your mouth resulting in greater enjoyment.”
“You have all this memorized, don’t you?” I asked.
“Also,” she continued, “Set down your utensils between each bite and ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry?’”
“But I’m always hungry.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Why would I be eating if I wasn’t hungry.”
“Because it’s the regular time for a meal or a snack.”
“Which is when I’m usually hungry!” I cried.
“Just try it,” she replied. “You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.”
“Ok,” I replied. “Can we be finished now. I promise I’ll try to eat thoughtfully and mindfully.”
“Good,” she replied. “While you’re at it, you need to turn off the tv and put your phone away at least an hour before bed.”
“Get out,” I said.
*Photo courtesy of Henley Design Studios and Unsplash