Suddenly everyone is talking about Mindful Eating
In the recent past, the word ‘mindful’ tended to conjure up associations with non-mainstream activities like meditation and was often dismissed as ‘not for the likes of me’. But in the same way that meditation is being increasingly recognized as a mental training tool that anyone can benefit from, mindful eating is also coming into mainstream as an indispensable tool for weight management.
So no-one was surprised when a mindful lunch hour became part of the schedule at Google, or when self-help guru Oprah Winfrey became a cheerleader for the practice.
Mindful Eating Is Not A Diet . . .
Actually it’s not about giving anything up.. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it – which is how it’s meant to be. You can eat a pizza, a burger or even popcorn mindfully – and you might enjoy it a lot more.
. . . But It Sure Helps Your Weight Loss Plans
Mindful Eating is at the heart of the Mindful Slimmers Programme. It’s not the only behavioral change that will get you to that elusive weight loss mindset, but it’s one of the most important.
When you use all your senses to pay full attention to how you eat rather than what you eat, you increase your awareness of the internal triggers your body is giving you about hunger and fullness. That way you get back in touch with your own natural ‘Hunger Point’ and ‘Settling Point’.
These natural triggers are often long lost after years of yo-yo dieting. (Our next blog will focus on how to recognise these natural triggers.)
So how do you do it? It’s easy! These 7 steps will help you.
1. When you are hungry, prepare to eat something that you like.
2. Sit down where there are no distractions other than conversation with anyone sharing the meal.
3. Before you start, take time to notice the colours, textures and aromas of your food.
4. Keep on taking your time as you eat, chewing slowly. SLOW RIGHT UP so you can notice all the different sensations of taste, texture and smell.
5. Enjoy your food, as you were meant to, without any guilt….just pleasure.. Really savoring it, reminding yourself that this slow pleasure will give your body a chance to signal when you have had enough.
6. Feel the sense of ease throughout your body as satisfaction hormones are released and your blood sugar levels rise.
7. Become aware of the developing sensations of fullness in your stomach. Stop when you still feel comfortable but not stretched or bloated.
Don’t worry if it takes time to the hang of this. It’s a skill, not a precise science. But hang in there – because only you can tell when it’s time to stop. Once you start to get the idea, you can lose weight by recalibrating your Settling Point. More of that later.
Journalist Catherine Guthrie has a few more fun tips to share.
And if you want to read more:
“This is anti-diet,” said Dr Jan Chozen Bays, the author of “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food.” “I think the fundamental problem is that we go unconscious when we eat.”
At the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, Prof. Brian Wansink, the author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” has conducted scores of experiments on the psychological factors that lead to bingeing.