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By: Sasha Loring, MBSR Teacher and Author of Eating with Fierce Kindness: A Mindful and Compassionate Guide to Losing Weight

You may not have heard the term “food trance,” but if you’re like most of us you’ve experienced one. A food trance is when you are so fixated on food and eating, that you can’t be conscious of how much you are taking in and you can’t really enjoy what you eat. When you’ve been in a food trance you often don’t ‘wake up’ until all of the food on your plate is gone. When you’re in the midst of it you don’t recognize when you’re full.

Food trances are often emotionally driven and may be rooted in an attempt to relieve stress or to avoid uncomfortable feelings. They also tend to trigger a vicious cycle in which overeating aggravates the difficult feelings that triggered it, and this results in more overeating.

Here are a few suggestions for breaking a food trance:

  • Set the tone for more conscious eating by beginning each meal with an expression of gratitude or appreciation.
  • Don’t start eating until you feel relaxed.
  • Apply mindfulness. This means minimize distractions and actually taste each bite of food.
  • At frequent intervals, stop eating and look around the room.
  • Make a habit of checking in with your body, feeling the sensations in your abdomen and recognizing when you are getting full.