The findings of the UCSF study [mentioned in the article, The Serenity Diet ] indicate that, with enough practice, meditative techniques can change how you eat—so food becomes a choice rather than a habit rooted in stress. Here are a few tricks the subjects learned in their training.
1. Take ten minutes to eat three raisins. Examine their texture and color. Notice how they feel in the palm of your hand; notice how they smell. Eat them slowly, one by one, chewing patiently to savor the flavors. You are cultivating your ability to eat with awareness: When you focus your attention on your food, you derive more pleasure from each bite and ultimately eat less.
2. Look at your favorite food. Feel your craving rising. Observe what's happening in your body. Let the desire peak, and then feel it dissipate. Like negative emotions, cravings will eventually pass if you let them. This exercise develops your patience.
3. Before you eat, rate your hunger level on a scale from 1 (full) to 10 (famished). The point is to reconnect with your body so you can begin to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Over time you'll train yourself to ignore false cues, like boredom and anger.