STOP stands for Select, Taste, Observe, and Pause. To practice STOP, you first Select a bite of food in a special way, imagining that this is a food you have never tasted before. When you select your first bite, notice the colors and shapes on your plate. Choose a bite that is just the right size to savor.
During the second bite, you focus on Taste. With this bite, notice how the food tastes initially and how the taste changes as you chew and eventually swallow the food. Chew slowly and deliberately, really savoring this bite of your meal.
During the third bite, Observe the movement of your hand as it picks up a fork or spoon and moves food to your mouth. Altman suggests imagining that you are dining with the Queen of England and are trying to eat with extra poise and grace. You might also observe any thoughts that come up or any feelings of hunger or satisfaction you experience as you enjoy this third bite.
With the fourth bite, add an extra Pause just before you put the food in your mouth. Pause again, briefly, while you are chewing and then again after you swallow, before you take your next bite of food.
Adapted from Discover Mindful Eating, by Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, and Frederick Burggraf, MS. Skelly Publishing, 2010. Used with the author’s permission.