All too often, weight loss revolves around restriction and hard work. But, that may not be necessary. At Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Center, Dr. Latisa Carson and her team of loss mentors believe healthy weight loss can include important lifestyle factors such as mindfulness.
If you think of mindfulness as some new age, warm-and-fuzzy, vague thing you may want to reconsider. When you get down to it, mindfulness is simply being very aware of the moment you’re in, and it’s been shown to help reduce stress, improve resilience, and even aid in weight loss.
The power of awareness
Being aware seems like such a simple concept, but it requires something we are often not so great at in the modern world: slowing down. When you apply mindfulness to your eating habits, you slow down and become aware of your body, your food, and how you feel.
It seems like such a small thing, but being mindful is powerful. In several studies, participants who practiced mindfulness techniques lost weight, and, more critically, kept it off. Here are a few of the techniques and how they help you lose weight.
Make eating the main event
Do you ever eat while reading, watching TV, or with some other distraction? If so, you aren’t really paying attention to your food.
One of the first steps towards mindful eating is to make your meal an exclusive event. Eat at the table, and don’t read or do anything else. Be fully present for each bite.
Notice the food
As you eat, pay attention to the visual appeal of your meal, how it smells, the textures, and of course, the flavors. That seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Of course you notice how your food tastes!
But do you really? If you make it a point of noticing all the different sensations involved in consuming a meal, you may be surprised at what you’ve been missing!
Researchers at Harvard suggest spending the first five minutes of your meal silently thinking about how your food came to be on your plate. They suggest “thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.”
Use a timer
Have you ever noticed how quickly or slowly you eat? There’s some evidence that eating slower leads to weight loss. Experts suggest 20 minutes as the minimum amount of time you should spend eating a meal.
When you slow down, you’re more likely to notice the signals from your brain that tell you when you’re full. When you eat fast, you consume calories so quickly your brain and body lag behind with those cues.
The emotional connection
In addition to being mindful about your food, you should pay some attention to how you feel before you eat, during your meal, and afterward. You may even want to keep a journal to help you notice any patterns.
Emotional eating is very common, but once you tune in to your emotions you may find you can recognize when it’s your stress levels driving you to the fridge. Understanding that you’re not really hungry, but you are sad, angry, tired, or experiencing some other emotional state may be all it takes to help curb the urge to snack.
If you’d like to learn more about how mindfulness can impact your weight loss efforts, book an appointment at Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Center. We’re happy to discuss your situation and answer your questions. We now offer telehealth appointments as well as in person visits. You can schedule your appointment online or by calling (619) 552-2050.