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Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

By Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung
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Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung

Savor (2010) provides advice and inspiration on how to find inner peace, joy and strength – especially for those trying to sustainably lose weight – with Buddhist teachings and techniques for appreciating the richness of life in the present moment. It also draws on the latest nutritional science research on the best ways to eat and exercise, presenting readers with a holistic method for improving their physical, psychological and spiritual well-being, and thereby transforming their lives.

Key idea 1 of 10

Buddhism teaches four fundamental steps that will help you understand your weight problem and transform your life.

In order to overcome your unhealthy eating habits, you need to transform your life. To do this, it is best to be part of a supportive community who’ll help you make this transformation. It is also important to try for small successes rather than to try taking quantum leaps.

Buddhist teachings help you to make this transformation in four basic steps:

The first step is to acknowledge that you are suffering. Being overweight often causes high blood pressure, aching limbs, diabetes and various other health conditions, as well as social problems such as stigma and bullying.

The second step is to become aware of the root causes of your suffering. Reflect deeply on your life: Do you realize how unhealthy your eating habits are? Are you aware of the fact that negative emotions may be compelling you to overeat? In this process of reflection, treat yourself compassionately by embracing your bad feelings instead of judging them harshly.

The third step is to realize that you can lose weight. If you have failed in the past, that does not matter, because the past no longer exists; what matters is the journey you are on now, in the present.

The fourth step is to practice living mindfully, which means being fully aware of your body and mind in the present moment, rather than being distracted by thoughts of the past and the future. Living mindfully is the only way to regain control of your life; it makes you conscious of all your actions.

Remember that these four steps are not designed to tell you “the truth” – they will simply help you to awaken the truth that is already within you.

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