Author: Christopher Roberts
August 20th, 2018 • 6 min read
You're probably thinking "How in the world is mindful eating supposed to help me lose weight?" Well, those who are familiar with the term probably once asked themselves that question. But don't roll your eyes too quickly. Research supports mindful eating as one of the leading causes in weight gain.
So what does that mean?
It means mindful eating for weight management programs can actually be the one game changer to success and as a treatment to overweight and obesity.
What does this "mindful eating" really mean, then?
In practice, it simply means to recognize or be aware of our hunger signals and acting on them. Many people are disconnected with their body's signs to hunger and satiety, and it's no wonder why the 1-2 pound devil manages to sucker punch you overnight.
Related: 10 Ways Your Mind Makes You Fat
These days, wherever we go there you are with a gas station in front of you, a street corner, a fast food restaurant, and offices. We're easily tempted with 40 oz sodas, an order of a burger and fries at the drive-through, and chocolates at our co-worker's desk. We ignore the biggest questions that can save us from weight gain: Am I REALLY THAT hungry? Am I really that full? and instead we spoil ourselves by reaching in and nosh, nosh, nosh away.
Is it more understandable now how important it is to practice mindful eating when you're on your biggest adventure to achieve your biggest goal, in which I'd guess is weight loss?
Imagine just spoiling yourself one time for only 5 minutes with a single doughnut. That's already 300 calories down the throat by having your guard down. You were managing your calorie intake just well to finish the day, but now it's all messed up.
Got you all pumped to start practicing mindful eating today? Read on:
If you happen to find yourself losing track of time, Harvard Medical School suggests to set a timer in your kitchen for 20 minutes, using that time to eat a normal sized meal. Here are 12 Weight Loss Tricks You Can Start Doing Today.
Before you begin filling up your plate with food, stop yourself and ask this question: "Am I REALLY hungry?" It's incredibly easy to confuse boredom or emotional stress with actually desiring to eat. The simplest ways to know if you're really that hungry are being aware of physical signs like the growling in your stomach or the hunger signals, along with feeling light headed in some cases.
Related: 9 Best Morning Habits to Lose Weight
And if you believe you're really hungry try opting for wise food choices like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
It can be tough to avoid the television or texting your buddies while you're happily chowing down. However, the Mayo Clinic explains that this strategy is the key to mindful eating to as you should save them for after your eating session.
This strategy also includes other forms of distractions like books or even an empty glass cup of water sitting on the counter.
You would be surprised at how huge of a difference this would make to your entire eating experiences. Whether it means to say a prayer at the beginning of each meal, or thanking your loved one for all the trouble of preparing that special dish, or simply by expressing gratitude to yourself after that first or second bit, this can make all the difference for your eating experiences. Use your thank you's.
We all obviously use the sense of taste when eating, but it's really easy to miss certain flavors, smells, textures, or even the way food looks to you if you don't take the time to experience it all.
In addition, this practice can also help you in the future to make even tastier and healthy meals.
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You have frequent mind wandering moments which cause you to start mindlessly eating. One trick you can try doing is to eat with your non-dominant hand. How does this work? Well, your weaker, less steady hand will practically begin begging you to eat a lot slower! Also, you can try eating with chopsticks more often if you haven't been, regardless if you're not eating an Asian cuisine. Try experimenting different ways until you find something that works for you.
This can be one of the hardest parts when practicing mindful eating, which is the reason why a lot of us end up accidentally overeating.
Challenge yourself to make meals go on for at least 20 minutes. On average, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to start realizing that it's full. By slowing down your meal eating times you'll allow your body to catch up to your brain. In other words, try taking smaller bites and putting your fork down in between bites. You can also try chewing for a longer period of time. This will help to give you brain some time to realize that you're actually full. And when it does, listen to it!
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