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Imagine the difference in digestion you would ex-

perience if the next time you ate your favorite food or any food under a relaxed state where you savored each bite and didn’t have to rush through it out of guilt, worry, or self doubt about willpower! I’d rather see you eat all food under the optimal state of digestion and absorption so that you best metabolize and utilize your nutrients.

When you eat, do so with willing attention toward your food.

In fact, do as my friend Marc David suggests and

eat soulfully, not just mindfully. Marc runs the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Soulful eating allows you a whole-body experience that celebrates your innate desire to seek pleasure from food and not stop until you receive the right amount. Mentally and soulfully reap nourish- ment from your food before, during and even after your meal by doing this:

Savor the flavor: Notice the texture and aroma of each bite to get the most flavor. Is it sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, sour, bitter, or smooth?

Observe: Notice your body – is your belly gurgling with hunger? Or are you completely stuffed? Are you stressed or calm and what could you do in that moment to increase relaxation?

Be Present: Sit down while you eat, turn off all media or keep it in another room and simply eat while you are eat- ing-nothing else!

Resist Judgment: Let go of the urge to engage in nega- tive self-talk and eat with compassion, respect, and grati- tude toward your body. Notice when “should” or rigid rules pop into your mind and be aware of any guilt that comes up for you around certain foods. Now is not the time to criticize-now is the time to calm your mind, slow the chatter and be present in your body.

Awareness: Notice the difference the next time you drift off during a meal. Bring yourself back to the moment and taste each bite. Maximize your pleasure!

See your symptoms as hidden messages from your inner world trying to tell you to listen- don’t dismiss them. By dismissing these clues or worse, beating yourself up over them, we lose the opportunity to tune in and do the real work of unlocking the mysterious barriers to our unsolved health conditions.

These clues are, in essence, your inner doctor taking residence within each cell of your body saying “Hey you! Something isn’t right with this stress you’re putting on us, and I can’t take it anymore – I’m falling apart. You gotta help. I’m trying to send you some signals…please “see” them!”


Examining your stress and seeing its impact on your metabolism will work well for many of you. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are wondering about how to get out of the mind and venture to the stress taking place in the heart.

Emotional eating has become ubiquitous in our fast- paced culture which honors quantity over quality, will- power more than pleasurable nourishment and the dol- lar more than humanity. How can you fully let go and tune in when your heart is desperate for a different cul- ture but your mind is living in this one?

Mark Hyman, MD, is a practicing physician, four-time New York Times best-selling author, and an internation- ally recognized leader in the field of functional medi- cine. Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, advocacy and public-policy work, he strives to improve access to Functional Medicine, and to widen the understanding and practice of it, empowering others to stop managing symptoms and instead treat the underlying causes of illness, thereby also tackling our chronic-disease epidemic. Dr. Hyman is chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and is currently medical editor at the Huffington Post and on the Medi- cal Advisory Board at The Doctor Oz Show. He is on the Board of Directors of The Center for Mind-Body Medi- cine, is a faculty member of its Food As Medicine train- ing program, and on the Board of Advisors of Memhet Oz’s HealthCorps. Dr. Hyman has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary and Alter- native Medicine, and has consulted with the Surgeon General on diabetes prevention. He has testified before the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine, and participated in the White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness. With Drs. Dean Ornish and Michael Roizen, Dr. Hyman crafted and helped to introduce the Take Back Your Health Act of 2009 into the United States Senate, to provide for reimbursement of lifestyle treatment of chronic disease. He continues to work in Washington on health reform, recently testifying before a Congressional hearing on Functional Medicine, nutrition and the use of dietary supplements. He has worked with President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

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