Research has found that eating mindfully can improve your digestion, prevent type 2 diabetes, overeating, excessive snacking, and help you lose weight. Mindful eating is about bringing awareness to how you eat, what you eat and the actual experience of eating in itself. It also involves paying attention to how you feel before and after eating, how you shop for food and how you prepare food.
We all know how difficult it can be to lose weight because we tend to have such a strong emotional attachment to food and often have very deeply entrenched eating patterns that we are not necessarily aware of. Indeed, often we eat without paying much attention to what we and how we eat and the sensations as we chew and swallow food because we think about something else or we eat while watching TV or being distracted by other things.
We do not necessarily pay attention to the type of food that we are eating and how it might affect our body. We may overeat at times or eat without being really hungry because we feel a void and need emotional comfort or to cope with stress and difficult emotions.
These are seven ways in which mindful eating can help you lose weight:
- Notice your hunger signals
When you are about to have a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Maybe you are just feeling bored or sad or it is just out of habit. Connect with how you feel, observe whatever sensations you feel in your body. When thoughts come in, notice them without judgment but bring yourself back to the sensations in your body. If you decide that you are not really hungry, take a few deep breaths, observing how it feels as you do so. Maybe go for a walk or do some gentle stretches instead of snacking.
- Shop mindfully
When you are shopping for food, pay attention to the types of food that you are putting in your trolley, how much you are buying, what ingredients go in them, not only in terms of how high in fat or sugar but also to how much preservatives or artificial coloring there are. Pay attention to where the food comes from and how it was made, ask yourself if you really want to put this into your body.
- Involve your senses
The process continues when you prepare the food, pay attention to how much you are making, what ingredients you are using and combining. Pay attention to the sensations in your hands as you peel or chop vegetables and the texture, smell and colour of the food. You can ask yourself if that is something that your body really needs.
- Focus your attention
Before a meal, put your phone on silent, turn the TV off and do not do anything else but eat so you can focus only on the sensations while you are eating. It will completely change the relationship that you have with food and will help your digestion.
- Eat mindfully
Now we get to the eating itself! Start by having a good look at what you’re about to eat. Take note of the textures, shapes and colours, then, notice any smells and sounds. When you take a bite, notice the temperature, the texture and all the different tastes. Be aware of how the food feels on your fork or in your hand, then how it feels in your mouth. Notice your mouth chewing away and how it feels when you are swallowing. It is recommended to start practicing eating mindfully with a snack, then when you are used to it progress to a full meal.
- Tune into how you feel
Notice how you feel once you have finished eating, maybe you feel like you have overeaten, notice how certain foods might agree or disagree with you by connecting to the sensations in your body after eating.
- Keep a Food Journal
To help becoming more aware of food habits and patterns, It is also useful to keep a daily food journal for at least a week, taking note of what you eat and how much at each meal and how often and what food you eat between meals, and also noting thoughts and emotions when you have a food craving or feel hungry between meals.
Regular daily mindfulness practice in addition to mindful eating will also enable you to accept yourself for you who are by being kinder and compassionate with yourself and accepting what is happening in the present moment. It will also help you be calmer and deal with stress and negative emotions more effectively. As a result, it will be easier to become aware of how you eat and to change how you eat if you wish to do so. Alternatively, you may decide that by accepting who you are, you do not need to lose weight.
If you would like to get a free 30 minutes consultation via Skype or phone to find out more how I can help you lose weight, cultivate self-love and self-compassion, manage and reduce stress or deal with difficult emotions through mindfulness coaching, contact Lise on 0405067030. For more mindfulness tips and techniques to improve your health and well-being go to https://mindfullyserene.com.au/