For several important reasons, the body is the ideal doorway into mindful eating and mindfulness meditation, the two primary ingredients of the Mindfulness Diet. For one, the body is the origin of our experience of hunger and satiety. The body is also important to meditation because, unlike the mind, it is always here and now. Awareness of the body also gets us in touch with our feelings, which are bodily experiences.
Since we give the majority of our awareness to thoughts, nearly all of us are disconnected from our bodies. Intentionally bringing awareness to the body balances us and gets our mindfulness off to the strongest possible start.
Being mindful of the body also reduces our stress, which is caused by giving too much attention to thoughts and too little attention to the body. Stress, all by itself, can lead us to an unhealthy relationship with food. But flooding the body with mindfulness is relaxing and healing. We could even say that mindfulness is the polar opposite of stress. While there is such a thing as healthy stress, mindfulness and unhealthy stress – the kind that most of us are familiar with – cannot co-exist.
Everybody – every body – has a natural pull towards health and well-being. Whether you believe it or not, your body has a genuine need for healthy and appropriate amounts of food and exercise.
The body is wise and takes care of its needs as long as we don’t interfere with it. If we get a cold, the body knows how to return itself to health. If we cut ourselves and bleed, the body knows how to stop the bleeding and heal the wound. When you think about it, this is quite miraculous.
And just as the body knows how to heal a cold or a wound, it also knows the most appropriate foods for its nourishment, and how much of those foods it needs.
As a saying goes, “Sometimes your body is smarter than you are.”
Take some time to tune into your body each day, and especially before each meal, and see what happens.