published Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Pierce: 10 tips for 'mindful eating' on Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just eight days away, this is the week when diet counselors are reinforcing tips to help us make it through big holiday meals without overindulging.

They call this "mindful eating," paying attention to what and how much we put into our mouths.

So it caught my attention when this news release came across my email about mindful eating. It's taken from a new book by Dr. Michelle May, "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat."

This excerpt "Save the Stuffing for the Turkey: Try Mindful Eating Instead" teaches that the key to mindful eating is to notice details around you.

Perhaps trying these tips will make you thankful you enjoyed the holiday meal more, although you ate less.

In the news release, Dr. May advises:

1. "Focus on the people with whom you're sharing your meal. Engage them in conversations. Ask questions and really listen to your companions."

2. "Notice how hungry you are. If you aren't hungry yet, become aware of the reasons you feel like eating anyway. Eat when you get hungry."

3. "Decide how you want to feel when you're done eating. Stuffed and miserable? Or comfortable and content? Eating the right amount of food is not about 'being good' but about feeling good. Fill your plate accordingly."

4. "Mentally describe the table setting and the ambiance. Notice aromas, colors, textures and presentation of the meal."

5. "Choose food carefully by asking yourself what you want vs. what you need. Don't waste your appetite on cranberry sauce if you don't love it."

6. "Put one small bite in your mouth. You only have taste buds on your tongue, so the flavors of a large bite of food are lost on your teeth, cheeks and the roof of your mouth."

7. "Notice the texture and flavors of the food on your tongue, then slowly begin to chew. Breathe, since flavors other than salty, sweet, bitter and sour actually come from aromas."

8. "Set your fork down between bites. If you begin to load your next forkful, your attention will be on the next bite, not the one you are eating now. And if you are focused on the next bite of food instead of the one you're eating, you won't stop eating until there are no more forkfuls."

9. "Sit for a moment and let the flavors and experience linger before you take the next bite."

10. "Remind yourself that you can eat more later or at another meal so there's no need to eat it all now and ruin the experience by being too stuffed."

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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