Our search for solutions to lose weight is mostly focused on small details: We are tracking single nutrients but forget the greater picture: Nutrition is and always was part of our society, culture and psychology. Mindfulness can be a great tool to lose weight successfully, while taking care of the frame conditions of our busy lives as well as considering the deeper meaning of eating in our society.
Developments in our modern world have lead to fundamental changes of our eating habits and the consequences are fatal. We are able and tempted to eat everywhere and all the time. We often don’t even think about if we are hungry. We eat on the go or in front of our computer while being distracted by our smartphones. Eating mindlessly as described means that we don’t realize what we are eating, if we like the taste or when we had enough.
Advertisements and supermarket structures are playing with us, creating needs, influencing us to buy things we don’t need, and which aren’t good for us. And the more convenient our food becomes, the less nutritious it is, diluted with flavours, colours, sugar and additives.
To make it even worse we are moving less and burn just a fraction of the calories our ancestors needed for the physical demanding work day.
Just one of both developments would be problematic, but both together create an epidemic, which we are not able to solve yet.
Mindfulness can be a key to weight loss for us, if we are willing to change from default operating in pilot mode in which we spend most of our day.
Mindfulness comes from Chinese and combines the characters for “now” and “heart” or “mind”. That means when we are mindful, we live in the moment and perceive what is going on right now. But at first, we have to stop for a moment, pausing our hamster wheel of automatic habits.
In terms of weight loss mindfulness combines the practices of mindfulness with the relationship we have with food.
4 simple strategies to start “mindful eating”
The following strategies offer an easy access to the topic. It’s possible for everyone to choose one or more strategies to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness isn’t just happening, it requires practice like your muscle training in the gym.
- Distraction-free zone: When you eat, cut out all distractions (phone, internet, TV) and focus on the food and its taste.
- Emotional-zone: How do you feel right now? Are you hungry or rather angry, lonely, or stressed? What would help you better to improve your mood rather than eating?
- Rest-area: Take some time, sit down for at least for 5 to 10 minutes while eating your food slowly and consciously.
- Satiety-zone: Try to perceive your level of satiety before during and after each meal. If 1 means you are nearly dying from hunger, 10 means that there is not even space for one leave of salad. Try to finish your meal around level 7 or 8, which means you are not hungry anymore, but not stuffed yet.
Learning and practicing mindfulness instead of dieting means to be more aware of what your body needs right now and not being externally controlled by temptations, meal times and advertisements.
“Mindful eating is eating with intention while paying attention.” (Kati Konersman)
Weight Loss Coaching can help you to incorporate some of the strategies into your daily life! You can book a FREE 20-min Walk in appointment with me at City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy (Bukit Timah, Singapore). Looking forward to identifying the strategies which work best for your weight loss success and more well-being.
Thich Nhat Hanh & Lilian Cheung (2011): Savor. Mindful eating, Mindful life. HarperOne, Reprint Edition (Paperback, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD, Kindle)
Weight Loss Coaching might include more helpful stratgies than mindfulness, but living with intention will be part of it in most cases. If you like to read about a weight loss coaching experience, you find it here: How Weight Loss Coaching helps you to lose these stubborn pounds effortlessly.