Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eating Mindfully (Second Edition) by Susan Albers

New Harbinger
Released May 2012
312 pages
Buy here.

This book is sort of the anithesis to typical "dieting," as it emphasizes NOT counting calories, relying on your scale, or depriving yourself of your favorite foods.  Instead, Albers posits eating within the four foundations of mindfulness as enumerated by the Buddha: mindfulness of the mind, mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of feelings, and mindfulness of thoughts.  Eating mindfully depends on changing your approach to food in order to accommodate all four of these foundations.  The book is organized by the four foundations, and Albers provides a numbered list of strategies to heed each foundation.  She also includes the occasional exercise (which she labels "skills builders") to help readers immediately incorporate certain strategies into their life.

I personally did not get a whole lot out of this book, only because I am at a stage of my health-reclamation journey where I already learned a lot of the things Albers highlights.  However, I recognize all her advice as valuable since much of it is what I already follow at this point.  One big thing I did take from the book are the idea of eating slowly and really noticing and enjoying your food.  I still don't do this, even though I know I should, and I have tried to start in the past couple of days.  The other concept I found illuminating is the idea of not allowing yourself to have judgmental thoughts about your food choices, and not to categorize foods as "good" or "bad."  This is something I recognize myself doing, and Albers' point is that such thinking leads to guilt rather than satisfaction from eating.  This is something I would certainly like to work on.

This is the second edition of this book with added material, but I honestly don't see what the added material really contributes.  Much of what is in the final section of the book is already brought up (and in more detail) in the earlier sections.  The extra section just seemed to add repetition.

If you are obsessed with dieting and are looking for a more reasonable alternative, definitely check this book out.  In addition to the four foundations framework, Albers includes a lot of resources, both print and web-based, to help readers better achieve the strategies outlined in the rest of the book.

Rating: 3/5

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