Studies indicate mindful eating can help you lose weight. Also referred to as intuitive eating, mindful eating is the practice of being present, attentive, and focused on the tastes, smells, presentation, textures, and your feeling when eating. In fact, a study by North Carolina State University reveals practicing mindful eating can help you lose weight 7 times more compared to those on a standard regime.
The study begins with the standard foundation of weight loss. In order to lose weight, you must combine a nutritious diet with physical activity and create a caloric deficit. In other words, if you want to lose weight, you should eat properly and sufficiently to satisfy the amount of daily calories your body needs to function and then partake in physical activity to burn additional energy/calories, thus creating the caloric deficit. The study shows that those practicing such a strategy did lose some weight, however, those who incorporated mindful practices improved their results greatly.
Unlike the study participants who did not practice mindfulness, those who did practice it…
- Paid attention to their hunger and fullness cues
- Planned meals and snacks
- Ate presently and as a single activity as opposed to eating while doing other activities such as watching TV or reading
- And paid special attention to food tastes, colors, smells, flavors, and textures.
Dr. Carolyn Dunn from the University describes, “Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings, being in the present moment…Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, not eating at our desks…People [who] did increase their mindfulness…did absolutely decrease their weight.”
Dunn further reveals that mindful eating can help you lose weight since mindfulness allows you to not allow your emotions and/or external cues, such as depression or food marketing, to determine what and when you eat.
The study further confirms that the majority of participants not only did not regain their weight, but they continued to achieve their weight loss goals by practicing mindful eating.
In addition to the stated study, Harvard published an article also confirming mindful eating can help you lose weight. The article indicates slower and more thoughtful eating can steer people away from processed and unhealthy food choices. In addition, since it takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full, mindful eating means slowing down your eating and allowing your brain to register satiety…because when you eat too quickly or while distracted, you tend to over eat instead of stopping when full.
Additional tips on how mindful eating can help you lose weight include:
- Pausing before you eat and asking yourself why you’re eating. Are you eating purposely, out of hunger, or as a result of an emotional or external cue?
- Drinking water before your meal to slow your mind and allow for more concentration and focus while eating.
- Since a part of mindful eating is taking time to notice the flavors, colors, and food tastes, give yourself the opportunity to eat more vibrant, flavorful, and healthier food choices compared to sugary, processed foods.
- Setting your kitchen timer on for 20 minutes to take the time to eat.
- Trying to eat either with your non-dominant hand (i.e. your left hand if you’re a righty) or using chopsticks if you normally don’t.
- Taking smaller bites and chewing well to slow the eating process and allowing you to savor each bite more thoroughly.
- Again, turning off distractions and permitting your brain to notice each bite and cues for fullness.
In conclusion, mindful eating can help you lose weight by allowing you to not only be more conscious of when and what you’re putting in your body, but also helping eliminate distractions and identifying such cues of when you’re full, why you’re eating, and what are healthy and unhealthy food choices.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, or tapping into how to practice mindfulness, get in touch with ME for one-on-one coaching and/or learn what Conscious Strategies tools would be best to achieve your goals. As always, if you’re new to Conscious Strategies, don’t be shy. Reach out and let’s chat. You have nothing to lose but the unwanted weight, struggles, and stress! To your wellness!