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Pavel Somov, Ph.D. Headshot

Track Your Mindfuls, Not Just Your Mouthfuls

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For years we've been asked to track what we eat and how much we eat. That's all fine and good, but what about tracking how mindfully we eat?

I encourage you to try tracking your mindful eating moments. First, set a simple goal: try to have one mindful eating moment per meal. Mindful eating is often misunderstood as a kind of all-or-nothing approach to eating, where you'd commit to eating mindfully and then you'd have to eat mindfully all the time. I think this is perfectionist overkill. I think of mindful eating as an alarm-clock. A few moments of mindful eating is enough to wake up the eating zombie. After all, when we set an alarm-clock to go off in the morning, we don't expect it to keep buzzing non-stop. Same with mindful eating: at a minimum, start the meal on a mindful note and appreciate the residual sense of presence.

So, set a modest goal: say, one mindful or one savoring per meal. In other words, aim to have a few experiential calories. And then, when the meal is over, at some point, journal a bit about this moment of mindful eating. Most of us eat at least 3 times a day. Imagine that you got into a habit of having at least one mindful eating moment per meal - that's over 1000 precedents of mindful eating per year! You can also journal about lost eating moments - i.e. about the effects of mindless eating...

Mindful eating isn't a one-time choice - it's a habit. Build the habit of conscious eating one journal entry at a time.

Mindful eating - as I have recently written - is a kind of yoga that unites your mind's intention with your body's eating behavior. As such, a mindful eating journal is also an opportunity for you... to rediscover yourself. Mindful eating moments are moments of intimacy and self-synchronization. When you document what you are consciously eating, you might also get a glimpse into what is eating you psychologically. Enough said. I think that the benefits of journaling about moments of conscious eating are self-evident (no pun intended).

As for specifics, you can journal the classic way - pen & paper - or, since many of us are nowadays online, you could start an online journal (even possibly a live blog) devoted to your mindful eating. Alternatively, you can use Mindful Eating Tracker, a new free feature I am piloting on my site.

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