You have been exercising regularly, and keeping a close watch on your calories, yet you haven’t been able to lose an inch? Perhaps, it has to do with your mind.
The more ‘mindful’ you are, the more effective could be the results. Let us help you understand this. By now, you know that weight loss requires a combination of regular exercise and a good diet and not just calorie restriction. Given this, the concept of ‘Mindful Eating’ is a fast growing trend in the world of health and nutrition. As complex as it may sound, it is a simple practise and it is all a play of your mind. Mindful eating is a technique where you use the power of your mind to gain control over your eating habits. For instance, eating slowly, paying full attention to the food or eating only when your body asks for it. If you master these simple ‘mindful’ habits, they can help you lose weight, treat various food related disorders like binge-eating and also rejuvenate you from within.
Health Practitioner and Macrobiotic Nutritionist Shilpa Arora ND says, “We have to learn to listen to our bodies. We are made up of trillions of cells, that need nourishment from everyday food and not supplements and medicines. We are made up of the food we eat and our bodies are a reflection of that. we might be genetically predisposed to diseases but that plays only 20 percent of the role. Rest depends on our lifestyle choices. Hence one needs to pay close attention to what goes inside their bodies.”
Mindful eating is closely based on the Buddhist concept of ‘Mindfulness’. Mindful eating is similar to a form of meditation that helps one recognize their physical sensations and emotions and steer them towards striking a balance between ‘what the body wants’ and ‘what the body needs’. In a world filled with so many distractions and commitments – be it with our families or jobs, the attention towards good food can take a back seat. Moreover, we are often lured toward fast and fatty food for the sake of convenience. While what you eat plays a significant role in maintaining your health and well-being, how you eat it and your ‘mindful’ response towards it is equally important.
Mindful Eating and Weight Loss
Mindful eating and weight loss may have a much deeper connection that what you may think. Mindful eating can help you recognize unwanted eating behaviors, which can not only help you lose weight in a healthy way but also sustain the weight loss in the long run. Unwanted eating behaviours like eating when you are not hungry, or eating when motivated by external factors like smell or unnecessary cravings are probably the biggest culprits of weight gain and obesity. An important aspect of mindful eating, is eating with full attention, leaving all the stress and anxieties of other commitments aside, which helps you enjoy the meal more and keeps you satisfied for longer thus, curbing cravings. The improved self-control and positive emotions about what you eat, not only rejuvenates you from within but also helps you form a long term healthy relationship with food.
Mindful Eating and Eating Disorders
Mindful eating may also help with eating disorders such as binge-eating and emotional eating. Binge-eating disorder is one of the most common disorders in the world, and is often linked with depression and poor mental health. Victims tend to indulge in emotional eating as it relieves them from stress. You may feel like you can’t stop eating, and you needn’t be even be hungry to eat. You feel guilty about eating, and go back to eating again to feel better, and use food as a reward for yourself. Binge eating is one of the biggest cause of obesity. With a mindful approach, you can reduce the frequency of the episodes of binge eating as well as feel more satisfied after your meals.
Here are six simple ways to start incorporating the practices of mindful eating.
1.Don’t rush through your meals, eat slowly.
2.Make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Not only does it help in better digestion but also aids weight loss.
3.Eat in silence, turn off the television, put your phones aside, and savour your food in silence without any distraction that may take your attention away from the food. This way you may also notice the flavours you may have missed before and thus, enjoy your food better.
4.Pay attention to the bodily responses your food brings about. Meditate and focus on how the food makes you feel, it helps you know your food better and establish a healthy food and body relationship.
5.Eat only when you are hungry. Moreover, your body knows when you are full, even if you don’t. So, listen to it and pay attention to the cues. Put that last piece of pie down ,if your body is not asking for it. Eat only what is required to fuel your body.
6. Focus on your food and overall eating experience. Ask yourself, if you are even hungry? Should you be eating this portion of food during that time of the day? What changes good or bad can it bring about to your body or simply, how can it affect your health?
These are few basics of mindful eating. To begin with, experimenting and focusing on one meal a day could be a good idea and gradually, you can take the practice ahead with all your meals.