You have to have TWO pieces of toast. That was the hidden belief I discovered when I practiced mindful eating one morning. One of my favorite breakfasts is toast with peanut butter and jelly.
But I counsel people to practice mindfulness while eating. I’m very impressed with the work of some of my colleagues in mindful eating also called intuitive eating or normal eating (see resource page). It’s clear to me that the most joyful path to better health and healthy weight is through paying attention as we eat, listening carefully and curiously to our bodies’ signals so that we know when we’re hungry and full; so we know if it tastes good; so we know when we’re satisfied. Even though I’ve had a relationship with mindfulness for many years, I’m still learning and discovering. So I created this series called “Mindful Me” to tell the story.
But about toast. It was a rare early morning when I could make breakfast just for me. Tea and toast, I thought. Toast with peanut butter and jelly. No distractions, I can eat with complete attention.
So I didn’t turn on the television. I sat at the kitchen table which overlooks our little pond. The pond can be a distraction itself. I tried to resist its charms.
I ate my toast slowly. I chewed slowly. I paid careful, curious attention to flavor and texture. Here’s what I learned:
- I really like the hearty, whole grain bread I use.
- I really like the flavor of the natural peanut butter and the reduced sugar strawberry jam I use.
- In fact the flavor is so lovely, so simple, so satisfying that I’d be sorry if I missed out on it through mindless eating. I missed about three bites when the Great Blue Heron landed in the pond for his own breakfast.
- And here’s the kicker: after I’d eaten TWO pieces of toast I realized that I was over-full. Stuffed, really. Oops.
So, next time I have tea and toast for breakfast, I’ll make only ONE piece of toast. I’ll enjoy every bite. If the heron comes, I’ll put my toast down and enjoy him for a minute.