09 Mar 5 Mindful Eating Tips For Weight Loss
Mindful eating: what is it and how can it help support your weight loss?
Far from being a passing fad, mindfulness is a powerful practice with many potential health and wellbeing benefits. It is recommended by the NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to help prevent depression and anxiety.
It’s also very relevant when it comes to developing a healthy relationship with food. Studies have shown that mindful eating can help you gain better control over your weight. It can reduce overeating and binge eating. It can also help you truly appreciate your food.
WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines mindfulness as:
‘The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.’
‘A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.’
Mindfulness makes logical sense, but in today’s busy world, it’s not always easy to remain ‘present’, ‘calm’ and ‘accepting’. So how can you practically implement mindfulness into your daily life in order to support your weight loss? Here are five tips for mindful eating…
5 MINDFUL EATING TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
IDENTIFY THE WHY
Ask yourself why you’re feeling the desire to eat something. If you’re genuinely hungry and you know that it’s a good time for you to eat, go right ahead. But if you’re honest with yourself you might discover other reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Emotional triggers like stress and boredom are common. Try keeping a food diary, noting down not only what you eat, but also how you felt at the time. You might be surprised how often you are drawn to food when you’re not actually hungry.
QUESTION WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS
Before eating it’s a good idea to take a moment really consider what you wish to eat. What food(s) will best nourish you in that moment?
At our clinic we don’t work with overly prescriptive diet plans that dictate exactly what foods you should eat and when. We much prefer to give guidelines and meal ideas, allowing you to select foods you feel like eating at the time.
Questions you can ask yourself include:
Would a lighter or more substantial meal feel better?
What have I eaten earlier in the day?
What might I be eating later on?
How am I going to feel after I have eaten this food?
Does this food support my health goals?
One question we ask on our pre consultation questionnaire is ‘do you chew food thoroughly’. Often our new clients recognise they would probably benefit from slowing down their eating and chewing their food more thoroughly. Chewing thoroughly is important from a digestive point of view, but it also slows down our eating giving us time to connect with our food.
Taking time to eat more slowly also helps us recognise when we are getting full and stop eating before we are over-full. It can take effort to get into the habit of chewing your food throughly. A good way to get started is to count your chews. 30 chews should ensure your food is fully soft before you swallow. As you get into better habits it will become natural to chew until your food is a soft pulp.
FOCUS ON YOUR FOOD
Computers, mobile phones, televisions… how well are you going to connect with your food if you’re busy scrolling through Instagram? Or binge watching Netflix? This can be a tricky one to overcome but getting into the habit of detaching ourselves from a screen and focussing on the food in front of us helps us become so much more engaged with it’s look, smell and taste.
Gone are the days when we had to forage for our food, or grow and prepare it all ourselves. But in a world where food is so easily accessible it’s worth taking a moment to consider where your food came from and appreciate the effort that went into making the meal in front of you.
DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
When we aren’t happy with our weight it’s easy to slip into negative relationship with food. It can feel like we have to choose between eating food we enjoy, or food that’s going to help us achieve and maintain a figure we are happy with. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive. One thing we are passionate about is helping our clients achieve their optimal weight and state of health, whilst still enjoying their food.
Developing a happy relationship with food involves being grateful for the enjoyment and nourishment it provides us. Not resentful about the calories and confusion it causes.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a negative relationship with food, unsure as to what and how you should be eating to help you achieve a healthy body and a weight you’re happy with, we are here to help. If you’d like to find out more then please do get in touch.
A healthy relationship with food is about so much more than simply what we eat. Eating mindfully can go a long way in helping you to develop a long-lasting positive relationship with food.