Every day we hear of some new way of losing weight; new diets, exercises, or supplements to lose a few pounds. But, it could be possible that paying attention to your breath and focusing on your senses might help you eat less, and increase the joy that comes from what you eat.
Whilst you might be skeptical, research shows that ‘mindful eating’ – that is eating with full attention – can assist with weight loss, cravings, and even prevent binges.
Mindful eating helps with weight loss in a number of ways:
- Mindful eating makes you enjoy your food more. Supposedly, your taste buds’ sensitivity decreases as you eat. Eating, with full awareness of your senses, allows you to enjoy the diverse array of flavors in a dish. This also allows you to notice when the pleasure from the food starts to decrease.
- Eating slowly allows time for the brain to be satisfied, and it usually takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize that the stomach is full, allowing you to appreciate quantity over quality.
- Because of the attention that you will focus on food and your eating habits, you will be able to eliminate bad cravings. This is because you become more aware of the underlying emotions that drive these cravings.
- Being stressed can promote weight gain. Fortunately, consistent mindful meditation reduces the amount of stress hormones, cortisol, in your system. This is awesome because high cortisol levels are linked to pre-diabetes and obesity. Cortisol also reacts with other hormones and chemicals in your system to produce crazy cravings.
So the benefits are pretty clear, but how do you incorporate this into your daily life? Here are 3 easy steps to get your mindful eating on.
1. De-stress in 3 minutes
Have you ever noticed how chocolate cravings generally appear when you are pretty stressed from the trials and tribulations of daily life? Well it’s true; people tend to eat comfort foods when things get emotional. To avoid these cravings the next time you are stressed, sit down quietly and maintain good posture. Start to focus on your heart and breathing, breathe deeply and focus your senses on the sensations of inhaling and exhaling. Keep this up for three minutes or more. Give yourself a pat on the back and go about your day with clarity and purpose, stress free.
2. Be aware of your cravings
Over the next couple of days, try to notice your cravings. Each time a craving comes around, investigate the tone – usually based on your underlying emotions. Ask yourself: What emotions am I feeling, why am I feeling this way, and what is the best course of action I can take to address this? You might realize that you are hungry, or in most other cases, that you are fatigued, stressed, or not dealing with other emotions.
3. Eat at least one meal slowly.
Start by eating one meal over the next few days slowly, silently, and mindfully. Remove all distraction; this could be your TV, books, technology (yes, that means your laptop or your phone).
Savour the aesthetics, texture, scent and variety of subtle flavors of every small bite. Notice as the taste change and blend within your mouth, only starting the next bite after you have completely eaten the one before. You’ll notice your bodily sensations shifting, be very aware of this so that you can recognize when you are satisfied and should stop. By carrying out mindful eating, you start to consume less calories and enjoy your food more.
De-stress, feel fabulous, and make your feasts really count with mindful eating. If you really want to get into healthy eating, check out our Weekly Meal Plans. If you are trying to lose weight changing your eating habits isn’t going to get you to your goals, so check out The 7 Minute Workout.