Many of us face innumerable barriers and challenges in our quest to lose weight. We live in an incredibly face-paced society wherein multi-tasking is often promoted and rewarded.
We try to successfully juggle multiple obligations vying for our attention like family, work, school, and friendships. We do so by prioritizing our responsibilities in the order of importance; so we can get everything we must do done.
It’s no wonder, for most of us, it comes at the expense of our health.
As a holistic health & wellness consultant, many seek my assistance in one area that is not frequently prioritized, losing weight. Dropping the pounds tops the list of the greatest desire of my clients. I often share the standard advice” make healthy food choices, consume fewer calories, engage in cardiovascular and resistance training.”
However, the most effective yet simple advice I give all of my clients who are desiring to, embarking on, or struggling with losing weight is to eat mindfully.
Mindful eating is a way of eating that require us to employ present-moment-awareness, all of our senses and attention to the act of eating. Going beyond the mechanics of eating, it’s taking a moment to ask ourselves these two crucial questions:
- -Am I Hungry?
- -Why am I Eating?
By successfully answering these questions, you can decipher if your hunger is physical, emotional or stress (body) triggered. Then you can make a choice to eat only when it’s physical hunger and find healthier alternatives to manage your emotions and stress.
Tips to Eating Mindfully, use all of your senses!
- -Look at what you’re eating. What are the colors? What is its size? Is it appealing?
- -Smell the aroma emanating from your food. Is it triggering your desire to devour your meal?
- -Touch the food with your hand or utensil and feel a connection to what you’re eating. Is it creamy? Is it soft? Is it tough?
- -Taste the distinct flavors and textures swirling around inside your mouth and on your tongue. Is it full of sugar? Is it salty? Is it hot? Is it cold?
- -Listen to the sound of what you’re eating. Is it crunchy?
- -Think about what you’re doing and take the time to chew your food. After taking a bite put your utensil down or put the rest of what you’re eating down for a moment.
Research shows that thoroughly chewing our foods makes it more bioavailable thus allowing all of the nutrients to be fully utilized by our small intestine to nourish our body.
Also, if food particles digested are too large, it fails to fully deliver all of its nutrients to our body before moving into the large intestine then eventually to expulsion.
Most importantly, chewing slowly gives the gastrointestinal tract enough time to send a signal to the vagus nerve which in turn sends a signal to the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that regulates appetite) to register feelings of satiety much sooner, thus preventing overeating.
Helpful Tip: Wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds, if it’s physical hunger, you might still be hungry. If it’s emotional hunger, it might just be a craving and the desire to eat should surely pass.
In closing, eating mindfully leads to passive weight loss. Lose weight without diet or exercise!
The importance of eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly cannot be overstated; however, mindful eating is a powerful and effective assist for those of us struggling with weight loss.