I’ve been working on this art quilt for several months, and only recently finished it. It’s titled, “Hachibumme: Goddess of Mindful Eating” and she now graces our kitchen wall to remind me to eat mindfully.
I lived in Japan for nine years, and remember being at dinner with some Japanese co-workers. One man stopped eating, set his chopsticks on his bowl and sat back from the low table. “Are you full?” I asked. In answer, he told me about a Japanese phrase “Hara, hachibu,” which means, literally, “stomach, 8 parts.” It’s a teaching that instructs people to eat until they’re eight parts, or 80%, full. Then stop. (Brilliant!)
I’ve always remembered that. The name I’ve given to the goddess is based on that word for “8 parts”: Hachibumme.
This past year, I’ve been thinking about and trying to practice “mindful eating.” Jan Chozen Bays has a wonderful book I’ve been using, titled “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food.” The book includes a CD with guided meditations which are very helpful in becoming more “mindful” while eating.
Mindfulness is somewhat “in” right now, but is an ancient practice. The Center for Mindful Eating (www.tcme.org) outlines Principles of Mindfulness as well as a definition of Mindful Eating, which I’ve excerpted below. Please check out the link above for more information.
May you enjoy and explore what it means for you to “eat mindfully.”
Principles of Mindfulness:
• Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally.
• Mindfulness is being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally and physically in each moment.
• With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
• Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.
Mindful Eating is:
• Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing
opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom.
• Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
• Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment.
• Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating.
Someone Who Eats Mindfully:
• Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
• Accepts that his/her eating experiences are unique.
• Is an individual who by choice, directs his/her awareness to all aspects of food and eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
• Is an individual who looks at the immediate choices and direct experiences associated with food and eating: not to the distant health outcome of that choice.
• Is aware of and reflects on the effects caused by unmindful eating.
• Experiences insight about how he/she can act to achieve specific health goals as he/she becomes more attuned to the direct experience of eating and feelings of health.
• Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of his/ her food choices has on those systems.