Mindfulness has gained considerable popularity for its health benefits, and weight loss is no exception. Research has shown mindfulness based practices can improve eating behaviours and reduce weight, with a recent study finding mindfulness based interventions may be particularly useful for long-term weight management.
Mindfulness is a state of conscious awareness that arises from purposefully paying attention to experiences in a non-judgemental and accepting manner. It involves observing your thoughts, feelings, emotions and body without criticism – it’s simply about noticing them. Mindfulness may be cultivated through formal meditation practice, or informal exercises incorporated into daily life. When applied to eating, dubbed ‘mindful eating’, it involves becoming completely aware of the sensations experienced – for example, chewing slowly, removing distractions (such as phones, TV, work) and noticing the colours, smells, flavours and textures of food. It also involves bringing awareness to the experience of eating and your body’s hunger and satiety (fullness) signals. This can help you determine if you’re letting your emotions or the environment dictate and drive your eating habits. For example, noticing if you’re drawn to eating a packet of chips after a hard day, or that you’re hardwired to purchase junk food when grocery shopping simply because they’re heavily marketed.
Ultimately, the goal is to bring awareness, rather than judgement, to emotional eating triggers and experiences. When your awareness is heightened, this may interrupt habits to overeat in response to stress or cues such as the sight of food.
Over the next few days start experimenting with mindful eating. Next time you notice the drive to eat, ask yourself, am I physically hungry? Observe the feeling of hunger and fullness throughout the day, and take note of when cravings occur, observing any emotions or stimuli that trigger these cravings. It can be helpful to keep a craving journal.
If you feel overwheled by this or knowing where to start on your weight loss journey get in touch with me today. Life’s to precious to waste not feeling your best! I have a genuine desire to help others get well and stay well. So I want to encourage you to take control of your own health so you can feel great every single day. Don’t hesitate and waste another day or week, flick me a message if this is something you’re struggling with and let’s start your journey to wellness!