Excess body weight is a serious problem having physical and psychological implications. Consumption of unhealthy junk food has become a lifestyle disease leading to disastrous consequences. Excess body weight not only leads to a sedentary life but also to more dangerous outcomes like heart failure and depression. Weight management is therefore a critical aspect of your life which must be addressed effectively. Learn how to achieve weight loss through mindfulness and work towards a better, healthier you.
Weight Loss Through Mindfulness
“The only thing you have to focus on is the food,” says Michael Mantzios, a mindfulness researcher and lecturer in health psychology at Birmingham City University in the U.K. “Mindfulness brings you back to the present moment, back to the present meal.” This is easier said than done. People who suffer from obesity do so because they are obsessed with eating unhealthy food. Bringing such people into the mindfulness fold is a difficult task. In fact, many different popular diets abound in the market fleecing money from eager and enthusiastic crowd wishing to lose weight while twiddling their thumbs – which is the extent of their physical exercise.
It has been accepted by doctors and scientists that diet and exercise are the most important elements of a weight loss regiment. Weight management experts have lately started focusing on mindfulness as a technique to lose excess baggage around the belly.
Mindful eating makes a person aware of their internal cues regarding hunger and fullness. You dig into a pack of potato chip s while you watch a movie sitting on your favorite couch at home – maybe the name couch potato originated for this habit? You have worked through a mountain of junk food even before the movie on the television is over. The results are obvious.
Mindful eating makes you focus on the food than on other concurrent events. You realize a feeling of satiation when your stomach is full and you automatically stop eating.
How to eat mindfully?
“We instruct people to eat the foods that they love, and not give them up, but to eat them in a mindful way,” says Dr. Carolyn Dunn from North Carolina State University. The solution is in savoring and enjoying every bite with total awareness. You need not eat a plate of your favorite pasta in one sitting. Do not eat enough to provide you with maximum pleasure or you will soon reach a stage when you no longer enjoy the food. This will provide you the cue to stop eating. “Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings, being in the present moment,” says Dunn. “Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, not eating at our desks.”
You must focus on the color, texture, taste and smell of every morsel of food you consume. Take your time eating. Do not hurry. Each and every bite must trigger your senses. You must immerse yourself in the experience of eating. By following mindful eating your dietary intake will automatically reduce and you will feel lighter and smarter as a result. Reducing weight is not the immediate result you are looking for when you practice mindful eating. You will lose weight gradually over a period of time. You should not expect dramatic results from mindful eating.
Binge eating and mindfulness
Psychologist Jean Kristeller at Indiana State University and colleagues at Duke University conducted an NIH-funded study of mindful eating techniques for the treatment of binge eating. The results were favorable to the mindfulness-based therapy. The study group responded positively to the mindfulness therapy. They found more pleasure in consuming food and could control their urge to overeat. Overall, the group experienced beneficial effects from the meditation regime.
The process of mind eating must be gradual starting with a single meal during the day. You can use your left hand (or whichever is the wrong hand) to eat which will automatically reduce the speed of consumption. Focus on what you are eating. Feel the texture, taste and graininess of the food you are eating. Dwell on the color and smell. Can you associate any significant events in your life associated with the smell and taste? You should progressively add all your meals to your mindful eating regimen. With mindful eating you will be able to differentiate between true hunger and just a desire to stuff yourself. Your dietary habits will improve your feeling of satiation and lead to weight control.
Mindfulness eating is good for your health and for weight management. You will be able to control your urge to eat and understand the cues which signal a full stomach. You can avoid binge eating and overcome issues which cause weight gain. Mindful eating makes you enjoy your food. Every bit you consume is a joyful experience in mindful eating. Keep in mind that weight loss through mindfulness is not only better than dieting, it is easier too. Along with exercising, you can achieve weight loss by being mindful about what you eat.