Mindful eating has been a hot topic lately. The term shows up all over popular media from Dr.Oz (1) to The Huffington Post (2). Can mindful eating really be a easy weight loss solution that can also lead to an increase in mental health?
What is Mindful Eating?
According to The Centre for Mindful Eating, mindful eating is about being aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that food and food preparation can provide you. It allows your judgements and senses to guide you to make good food choices that satisfy you and provide nourishment, acknowledging your responses to food without judgement, and becoming aware of hunger and satiety cues from your body. It is about having a positive relationship with food. (3)
Why Practice Mindful Eating?
Benefits for health, happiness, and awareness are all common reasons people pursue mindful eating.
By being more aware of what is motivating you to eat without judgement and noticing how the food choices you make cause you to feel, issues around food can slowly get sorted out. All this is supposed to help you choose food that both satisfies and fuels you, and encourage you to stop eating once you are satiated. (4)
Happiness is increased through paying attention to the delights food brings you. The flavour, texture, and smell of food can be so satisfying, yet they are often overlooked by not paying attention to these joys. On the same token, many unhealthy foods are less than appetizing when you really pay attention. (4)
Increased awareness and mindfulness is another reported benefit of mindful eating. By making eating a practice in mindfulness, it becomes a meditation of sorts that allows you to be more present in all aspects of your life. Food becomes the portal to living in the present moment. (4)
Further reading: Self-love and acceptance trumps diet for lasting change
How do you Practice Mindful Eating?
That all sounds beautiful, but how do you do it?
Lilian Cheung, co-author of Savour: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, suggests these 7 practices for mindful eating:
- Honor the food: Don’t take food for granted.
- Engage all your senses: Pay attention to the smell, sight, texture, taste, and even sound of your food.
- Be mindful of portion sizes: Don’t take too much. Using a smaller plate is a great way to eat smaller portions.
- Chew your food: Chewing is the first step in digestion, and since it is your tongue that give you the pleasure of taste, chewing for longer increases your pleasure of food.
- Eat slowly: Eating slowly increases enjoyment of mealtime, and it also helps you eat less.
- Do not skip meals: When you skip meals you allow yourself to get very hungry and as a result end up eating more than if you would have properly spread out your food intake.
- Eat a plant based diet: Cheung suggests that meat increases the risk of colon cancer.
Does Mindful Eating Really Lead to Weight Loss and Increased Happiness?
Many people have spent years struggling with their relationship with food. Can the answer be as simple as awareness and acceptance?
For Katie it was that simple. She is a mental health/addictions nurse who often used mindfulness meditation with her patients. For years she struggled with her weight, until she started practicing mindful eating. She started to practice the forgiveness and compassion that she had for her patients with herself. She started paying attention to what her body really wanted. Her eating habits changed and she was losing weight effortlessly and pleasurably. (6)
This video below describes the difference between intuitive eaters (those practicing mindful eating), and controlled eaters (those using willpower and diets to control eating habits). It explains why there is a much higher success rate with the mindful eaters in a compelling and scientific way.
Watch the video which offers a precise answer to the question posed above: Does mindful eating lead to weight loss? You might be shocked at what the science reveals.
Antonia is a science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition. She has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. Read more by Antonia here, and SUBSCRIBE!
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