The prevailing consensus these days is that dieting does not work. People go on diets for many reasons, that include getting healthier and being able to maintain their diet over time. Being skinner is no longer the main reason to diet. Despite perhaps losing some initial weight, the dieter will eventually throw in the towel and gain all the weight back and then some.
The reason diets don’t work is because they are too restrictive and often far too dangerous. But, when people are focused on losing weight instead of getting healthy, these diets are usually what they turn to.
It’s Time to Change the Way We Think And Eat!
A growing body of research suggests that the more thoughtful we are about how we eat will help us to make healthier food choices. Eating should be a flexible thing that’s based on nutrition, satiation, hunger, and pleasure, rather than being based entirely on weight loss. But if dieting is not the answer – what is?
Mindful eating is based on the principles of mindfulness and being in the moment when you eat. Stemming from the centuries-old practice of mindfulness, or mindful meditation this practice involves being intentional about how you eat and changing the overall approach to eating.
Mindful eating discourages “judging” ones eating patterns and instead encourages the individual to make food choices that will be not only satisfying to their body but also nourishing. The idea is that once we really become FULLY aware of our eating habits and can make the connection between them and how we look and feel, we can take the necessary steps to change what needs to be changed.
Tips for Getting Started with Mindful Eating
If you’ve been struggling with your weight and would like to completely shift how you think about food, here are some tips for getting started with a mindful eating practice:
Appreciate the food – Honor where your food came from and how it got onto your plate.
Be Sensible – Use all of your senses to really smell, taste, see and recognize the textures
of your food. Be in the moment with your food.
Savor and Chew Thoroughly – When you are in the present moment, fully mindful of the
taste and deliciousness of the food, and when you are certain to chew thoroughly, you
can’t help but slow way down. This helps not to overeat.
These are just some of the ways to becoming a more mindful eater. But when you change how you think about food, any negative thoughts, and emotions you have about food and weight loss will be replaced with awareness and self-control.
If you’d like to work with a someone who focuses on mindful and flexible eating for health instead of weight loss, please reach out to me.
Written by Chemenda Sawyer, Licensed Mental Health Counselor