How to Stop Overeating by Practicing Mindful Eating (Oryoki) Exercise

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How to Stop Overeating by Practicing Mindful Eating (Oryoki) Exercise

Oryoki is an ancient practice that originated from the Buddhist dharma and is widely practiced by the monks of China, Japan, Korea, Nepal, etc. even to this date. Literally translated, Oryoki means a vessel that contains just the right amount of something. Contextually speaking, however, the practice refers to the bowls which contain the right amount of food. Getting into the technicalities of the practice would probably be too overwhelming for an average individual. Which is why the aim of this article is to introduce you to the practice of Oryoki in the simplest of terms and inform you of the benefits that it conceals.

Oryoki is a concept that is closely related to what is commonly referred to as mindful eating. It involves a deeper understanding of the psychological as well as the physical sensation of hunger, a conscious selection of what to eat, allocation of enough time to consume the food in peace, and greater awareness regarding the satiety cues. Simply put, Oryoki refers to a heightened state of awareness while consuming a meal.

Oryoki has been a matter of excessive research for psychologists owing to many of its potential benefits. Blame it on our hectic schedules, our eating habits have turned into more of a race where you have to be a fast eater if you want the best of what is one the table. The slower you are, the more you will have to be content with the leftovers. The practice of Oryoki, on the other hand, takes a greater amount of time than usual to consume your meal still manages to offer a wide range of benefits. In order to give you a better understanding of why it’s worth a shot, let us accentuate a few of the prominent benefits of the practice of Oryoki.


A Way Out Of Overeating Habit

What would be the first reason that pops into your mind if we asked you why is it that you eat on a routine basis? In all honesty, it is probably going to be “hunger”. But would it be totally unfair to state that it’s not the only reason why you eat, does it? Haven’t we all had an experience where we ended up eating more than we planned just because we were bored, angry, upset, or surrounded by any other of such negative emotions?

This is exactly the kind of adversity that the practice of Oryoki can protect you from. Since it entails being mindful while consuming your meal, it puts you closer to your emotions, at a place where you can identify and understand them better. It enables you to realize that you are not eating out of hunger, but out of a negative emotion that is slowly starting to take over you. More often than not, such a realization is sufficient to pull you out of the trap and avoid overeating that can have questionable impacts on your overall health in the long run.



Oryoki, Just The Right Amount

As mentioned before, Oryoki is literally translated as a bowl that has just enough food. There is an implication, therefore, that practicing Oryoki enables you to consume just the right amount of food that is required by your body. Not a bite less, not a bite more. It may come as a surprise for you but identifying exactly when you are full and have consumed the right amount of food isn’t as convenient as it may sound. This is perhaps why you find a lot more people who are over or underweight as compared to the ones who relish an impeccably healthy body.

By inviting you to be more mindful while you are eating, the practice of Oryoki tunes you better with your entire body and invokes a heightened awareness regarding its affairs. This is what enables you to listen to your body’s calling as soon as it is full that ensures you are consuming just the right amount as per your body’s requirement that goes a long way in improving your overall health.



A Comprehensive Eating Experience

When you think about fine dining and having a satisfactory experience while consuming your meal, what would you say is the most important factor that makes it so? For most if not all of you, the answer would be along the lines of its flavor, texture, taste, etc. But how often do we actually focus on savoring such characteristics of the food in our plate while dining? There is no argument over the fact that we have sensitized our brains into running a whole bunch of random thoughts at the time when we are having a meal.

The downside of it is that it disables you from actually savoring the taste, flavor, and texture of your food. It takes it beyond your capacity to appreciate what’s on your plate to the fullest. Practicing Oryoki and being mindful while eating, can help a great deal in letting you have a comprehensive eating experience. With mindful eating, you will no longer have to miss on savoring your food the way it deserves to be savored.


Getting The Most Out Of What You Eat

As mentioned earlier, it is a common practice for all of us to be lost in random thoughts while having a meal. Preoccupying your mind with such thoughts and taking its focus from the food can create a barricade for it to register the nutrients available in your food. If the nutrients are not registered, it is likely that they won’t be absorbed optimally by the body to provide the necessary energy. Imagine sticking to a strict diet plan and still failing to get the required nutrients because you are too busy to respect the food that has been served.

The practice of Oryoki brings you back to the here and now and shifts your focus from the random thoughts to the food that you are consuming. This serves the role of registering each of its nutrients and as per the research, it has now been proven to enhance the absorption of these nutrients by the body in an attempt to get the most out of every meal.


Don’t Take Food For Granted

When was the last time when you actually appreciated the food that you are able to afford, cook, and consume? Again, it’s all about ignorance. Such are the things that we choose to take for granted. The practice of Oryoki has a way of removing this ignorance so we can actually keep our entire focus to the food for the time that we are consuming it. It enables you to savor all elements of it and show gratitude for being able to afford it, be thankful to the ones who invested their time in producing it and then the ones who cooked it for you. In simpler words, it turns the entire experience more positive for you, something that’s filled with the expression of gratitude.


Makes You More Focused

If there’s a single principle that applies universally, it’s that of practice makes perfect. Whatever it is that you want to get better at in life, the more opportunities do you give yourself to practice it, the better are your chances of improving it over time. The same applies to the desire of making yourself more focused so that you can destine yourself for success in your personal as well as your professional life. The more you practice being focused and removing the distractions, the better are your chances of adopting higher focus as a permanent part of your personality.

The practice of Oryoki, as evident, provides you a flawless opportunity to practice focus while you are consuming your meal. So on one hand, you are getting to relish all of the benefits that are mentioned above, while on the other hand, you are pushing yourself a step closer to your ultimate goal of being more focused.



The above-mentioned information thoroughly elaborates the prominent reasons why the practice of Oryoki has passed the test of time and is still followed by the monks from all over the world even after a few centuries since its origin. Just like meditation, mindful eating has also been gaining popularity and acceptance in the general public owing to the many benefits that it has to offer. We would like to be honest, though. The first time that you try the practice of Oryoki, you may feel weird while consuming your food at a slow pace with an effort to keep your focus on savoring each of the bites. There is a good chance that you’ll find it a little complicated or perhaps won’t see the real benefits for a while which is likely to test your motivation and inspiration to keep up with it. If you pass this test, however, you will surely be able to realize its benefits in the long run. That’s a promise. Now, whether or not you choose to give it a go is a decision that lies entirely with you.