Mindful Eating Tips and Tricks for Long Term Weight Loss
Do you want to lose some extra pounds? Ever wondered what strategies may help you lose weight quickly? Namely, according to research, adopting a more thoughtful way of eating can help you solve your weight loss issues and apply a healthy diet without processed food and unhealthy choices.
That is, mindful eating is a new alternative method used to help people lose weight. The Buddhist concept of mindfulness is used as the basis of this approach. This concept implies that one should be completely aware of everything that’s happening within and around at a specific moment.
But that’s not all! The Buddhist concept of mindfulness and its techniques are also extremely beneficial for relieving stress and some health issues like chronic gastrointestinal problems or high blood pressure.
What is Mindful Eating?
When it comes to eating, mindfulness refers to being aware and noticing food flavors, smells, colors, and textures. Plus, mindful eating suggests that one should chew slowly and solely focus on eating. In other words, you should eliminate any distractions when eating such as TV, speaking, reading, or listening. Also, if you want to enjoy the benefits mindful eating has to offer, you should learn to deal with the guilt and any anxiety caused by food.
How are the Mind and Gut Connected?
Surprisingly but true, there’s a robust mind-gut connection. To be more specific, digestion isn’t such a simple process and consists of many different and connected parts.
It involves a complex chain of hormonal signals sent between the gut and the brain, i.e., the nervous systems. And, the brain will note satiety only after 20 minutes. So, if one eats too quickly, the brain will record fullness only after the person has overeaten because the brain didn’t convey the message before that.
Plus, as we already mentioned, you should get rid of distractions when eating. But why? The answer is quite simple scientifically speaking – if we eat while we are distracted by another activity, digestion will slow down or stop, and as a result, our body won’t get all the nutrients from the food we’re consuming.
Mindful Eating as a Treatment for Binge Eating
According to several studies, mindful eating is quite helpful and beneficial when treating certain eating disorders like binge eating, or trying to meet weight loss goals. One study on 150 binge eaters, conducted by researchers from the Indiana State and Duke University, compared two treatments (mindfulness-based therapy and a standard psychoeducational treatment) and a control group.
Both therapies resulted in reduced binge eating and depression. However, the treatment based on mindfulness suggested that people enjoy food more and stress less about controlling their diet. What’s more! The participants who practiced meditation at mealtimes and during the day got more benefits from the study.
Basic Mindful Eating Tips and Tricks
It may really seem that mindful eating is something difficult and challenging. But, on the contrary, you can get started and apply mindfulness to your diet by following some quite simple tips and tricks.
If you don’t want to get overwhelmed, you can start gradually applying mindful eating. For example, in the beginning, practice mindfulness at one meal a day for a week. Then, you can gradually add more mindful meals to your daily diet.
So, here’s a starter kit for mindful eating:
- Before you sit down to eat your meal (a normal-sized one) set a timer to 20 minutes. It will tell you when to stop and wait for the brain to record satiety.
- Try eating with your left hand (this applies for the right-handed people), or with your right if you are left-handed. In other words, eat with your non-dominant hand.
- If you don’t usually use chopsticks, try using them to eat slower and allow more time for the food to digest and for the brain to notice fullness.
- Dedicate the first five minutes of eating to silence. All you should think of is about the food, from what it took to produce it to the farmer, the grocer, or the cook.
- Think about your bites and their size. Try taking as small bites as possible. And, of course, focus on chewing well and slowly.
- And, last but not least, think about whether you’re really hungry before going to the kitchen and grabbing some food. Even better, occupy your brain with some other activity apart from eating.