You know the deal, you’re sitting down to the most awesome meal ever. You’re famished and CAN-NOT wait to tuck into it. Once it’s finished you take a big breath sit back and then reflect on it’s qualities. Yes, you may well just have inhaled something (what was it again?) but damn it was good!
To some this all sounds well and good but if you want to ramp up your weight loss then let’s rewind things a tad.
Do you think you could put your knife and fork down just after one bite? Do you think you could resist the urge to keep going?
It’s actually harder than it sounds to hone in on mindful eating and reconnect with the meals you’re eating. Poor habits, time restraints, stress etc all play a part in our eating behaviour and believe it or not it plays a huge part in our health and weight loss efforts. Even as you’re reading these words, how attentive are you? Maybe part of your mind wants to wander or perhaps you began to think about your next meal.
It is a constant process of bringing yourself back into the now, it’s just how our mind works. When we are in the now, we bring much clearer intention and awareness to the simple process of paying attention!
This style of eating stems from Buddhist roots with meditation and consciousness practised increasing awareness and purpose of each meal. A book I have just completed “Mindfulness in Eight Weeks” begins its first exercise, as simple as it sounds, by simply taking a raisin in your hand and becoming aware of it – it’s weight, it’s temperature, the pattern, colour and shape. What muscles are holding the raisin in place in your hand? What happens when you squeeze the raisin? What does it smell like? You get the picture… and this is all even before it moves onto tasting chewing and swallowing.
This style of eating is not diet-related and can help with emotional eaters immensely. “The rhythm of life is becoming faster and faster, so we really don’t have the same awareness and the same ability to check into ourselves,” said Dr. Cheung, who co-wrote “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.” “That’s why mindful eating is becoming more important. We need to be coming back to ourselves and saying: ‘Does my body need this? Why am I eating this? Is it just because I’m so sad and stressed out?’ ”
When we’re on automatic pilot we become more efficient but it also means we miss things. Sometimes we need to consciously come out of automatic pilot and choose to focus – and this can be with anything in life.
When we get it right our digestions improved due to the mind/gut connection with the production of digestive enzymes plus we eat less and relax more.
Mindful Eating for Weight Loss
- Put your utensils down between meals and pause, take heed and reflect on where the food comes from, the tastes, textures, smells and colours.
- Chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing – this is super hard, to begin with
- Ban the devices! Unplug and bring the focus back to your eating, not your Facebook feed
- Sit down, in a relaxed space and make it pretty and promote gratitude
- Use chopsticks or eat with your non-dominant hand
- Use visual cues to remind yourself to eat this way at least once a week
- Only eat out of a bowl, not a box or packet.
Did you know it takes at least 20 minutes for the brain to register what it has eaten? This is why it’s helpful to take your time with meals and allow the body to catch up.
Do you think you could focus on this for a week?
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