workshop teaches you about the anti-diet
AT a six-hour workshop in Basavanagudi tomorrow, participants will sit around a table to eat. The spread will include cucumber salad, vegetable cutlets, dal-chawal and potato chips. Aerated drinks and fruit juices will also be laid out to wash all of them down. This may be a tasting session, but more importantly, it is a meditative exercise, which has roots in Buddhist teachings. It will be helmed by city-based holistic health coach Kapila Ramakrishnan. Known as ‘mindful eating’, its long-term benefits include overall improvement of health and weight reduction, minus those crash diets. The session will also cover breathing techniques, ways to curb cravings and will have discussions on emotional eating.
Ramakrishnan explains the term first. “Mindful Eating is about paying attention to what you eat (healthy or unhealthy), how much you eat, how you feel while eating something, or after eating it, and the range of emotions you experience in the process. It involves looking at what is on your plate, various colours and cuts of the ingredients, savouring its textures, smelling it, etc.”
But won’t focussing on what we eat all the time make us a solitary eater? What about family dinners, which involve conversations? “It’s about being present in the moment. You can talk and switch back to eating mindfully,” she says.
To get started with the process, listen to your body’s signals, and give it the right type and amount of food to beat hunger. “The problem is we don’t know when to stop eating, because we are not paying attention to our body’s intelligence. When you start practising it (for a few minutes for up to 21 days), you will see the difference. You will feel satisfied even with small amounts of food,” says the former advertising professional .
Though the practise of mindful eating is ancient, it’s made a comeback in the modern world in the last five years. It is also gaining popularity as the ‘anti-diet’. She explains, “Dieting is mostly born out of our judgements about our own body. But mindful eating is all about acceptance, and empowering your body. It’s fine if you ate a tub of icecream, you don’t need to beat yourself up for it. But did you really need to eat that much, ask yourself this question the next time, and you will be in control.”
Mindful eating can throw up interesting revelations about oneself. She shares, “In one of my previous workshops, a participant ate potato chips, while being mindful about it, and he later told me ‘I just don’t like the taste of it, how have I been eating this stuff?’. In another instance, someone didn’t like eating altogether. I observed him while eating, and I realised his stomach was tight, his hands were clutched, and he was tensed. We worked around the process and now he is much more better.”
July 2 (At Basavanagudi) & July 16 (The Creative School, Hennur). 10 am-4 pm. Fee (Rs 2,500). Details: 9538965262
— Barkha Kumari