Published on: 26-Jun-2023
Struggling to lose weight? It could be as much to do with how you think as what you eat. Many dieticians and lifestyle coaches have insisted that mindfulness can aid successful weight loss, and now research backs up those assertions. Here’s what you need to know. The art of mindfulness involves gaining a connection with your thoughts, and an awareness of self, experiences, and motivations. This doesn’t just mean appreciating every mouthful of food that you eat; it means developing a better understanding of why you crave certain foods and your emotional response to food or eating. According to research, this is why mindfulness can help you to lose weight.
Of course, thinking about what and why you are eating isn’t going to help you to lose weight unless it helps you to understand and stop your unhealthy eating patterns. However, if you have undergone weight loss surgery, are on a diet, or you are taking weight loss drugs such as Orlistat to help reduce your appetite or make you feel fuller for longer, mindfulness can help you to make the right choices to make you feel fuller, lose weight more quickly, and feel healthier.
Learning not to eat your feelings
Mindfulness can help you to identify your triggers for unhealthy eating or overeating and teach you alternative ways to deal with those triggers. The world is made up of two sets of people: those who eat their feelings, and those who don’t. For the former group, food is the answer. Feeling sad? Have chocolate. Celebrating? Treat yourself to a delicious meal or treat. Break up? Ice cream. Bored? It’s time to eat anything and everything in sight. This emotion-based eating is, for many, the reason for those extra pounds creeping on and, as time wears on, those emotion-based snacks become hard-to-break habits. Once you recognize it as a response to a difficult, stressful, or emotional situation, it is much easier to engage your prefrontal cortex (using mindfulness of course) and use willpower to resist your urge to eat unhealthily.
Reading your body
Mindfulness doesn’t just help you to identify the cause of urges to eat unhealthily and fight those urges, but the process of being aware of what you are eating and your body’s response to that food will also help you to identify when you are feeling full, which can stop you from overeating.
Many of the triggers for eating – stress, anxiety, boredom, anger, are emotions that can be reduced considerably through mindful practices. Through mindfulness, you can gain a better understanding of emotional issues that cause you to overeat. Over time, you can identify those issues and their root causes and, eventually, gain the inner fortitude to address them and start a healing process.
A virtuous cycle
You aren’t just what you eat, you are what you feel. So, it makes sense that by eating better and having a healthier lifestyle, you will feel better which will inspire you to continue being “good.” However, for many people on a weight loss journey, there comes a point at which they are no longer seeing results. This can cause a spiral out of control and all that lost weight (and a bit more) going back on again. Mindfulness can help to stop this from happening, because by being aware of what you are eating, you can prevent yourself from overeating as a response to doing more exercise. By maintaining close control over not just what you are eating, but how much you are eating is vital if you want to achieve sustained weight loss.
Unlocking the Power of Mindfulness
To successfully lose weight with mindfulness you need to take a beat to focus on you and your body. Don’t eat at your desk or standing up in the kitchen, or even in front of the television. When you sit down to eat, give your full attention to the food that is going in your mouth. Chew slowly, enjoy the flavors and listen to your body for signals that you are full. And remember to drink plenty of water before you eat; this will help you to think about your food as well as helping you to feel fuller and keeping you hydrated.
If you are finding the challenge of losing weight and keeping it off a little too much, mindfulness could be the answer. For some, an additional boost could also help; in these instances, weight loss medication could give you the extra support that you need to achieve your weight loss goals.