Change Your Eating Habits through Mindfulness
By Joelle Beyrouthy
If you are among the many thousands of people striving to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyle; who every year set resolutions to exercise and eat well, you may feel encouraged to learn that something else might also help and may be the secret ingredient to a healthier lifestyle: mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a state of mind where one’s attention is focused on the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.
Several studies have shown that mindfulness practices such as meditation can help lower high blood pressure, and manage stress which often drives people to eat. A research review showed that meditation can help with both binge eating and emotional eating. Any way to become more mindful i.e. to become more aware of your thoughts and actions relating to food, will guide that process.
In this newsletter I want to share with you the technique of mindful eating which will help you in making more conscious choices when it comes to eating and what you decide to put into your body. And some weight loss meditations tips to help you achieve your goal.
What is mindful eating? It involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body, using all your five senses. Using your eyes to observe the colors, using your nose to smell, using your mouth to taste and feel the textures, flavors and temperatures and even using your ears to hear the sound of the crunchiness of your food. Hence basically enjoying fully your meal with all your senses and the experience of eating on the body- Where in the body do we feel the hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half full feels like or three quarters full?
Mindful eating is also observing the mind. How is eating affecting your mood (before during and after the meal) and how your emotions influences our eating? Furthermore, what are you telling yourself? It is important to pay attention to the mind and self-talk to avoid judgment or criticism about ourselves when it comes to food. Mindfulness is also noticing when the mind get distracted. Watching the impulses that arise after few bites or sips like: grabbing a book, your phone to call someone or search the web or turning on the TV. And very too often with distractions ending up overeating without being aware.
Mindful eating is noticing the mind get distracted and returning back to the fully present experience of eating.
Start simply with the following easy changes:
1. Try taking first bites and sips with full attention and no distractions
2. If you are eating and reading, try alternating between both activities not doing both at once – Read a page, then put the book down and eat a few bites savoring fully your food, then read another page and so on.
3. At family meals, you can ask everyone around the table to eat the first five minutes in silence, reflecting on the gratitude of having this meal.
4. Try eating one meal a week alone in silence and mindfully.
Meditation tips for weight loss – Learn how to turn your meditation practice into a reflection on your personal weight loss goals with these 8 tips.
1. Imagine yourself eating like you should be. The more you imagine it, the more likely it will become reality.
2. Picture yourself healthy and in shape. If you believe that you can and will be healthy and achieve that ideal weight, then you give yourself the motivation and drive to actually make it happen. Think about activities you’ll do when you’re healthy and in good shape. If you’re too overweight to do things you love right now, picture yourself doing those things as the new, healthier you.
3. Relax. You can’t take control over your thoughts and your mind if you’re stressed out and distracted. Simply relax and let go the problems of the day either by practicing meditation or any relaxing activity like yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, reading, painting etc.
4. Picture yourself wearing something you’ve always wanted to wear. A big reason many people want to lose weight is to fit into the clothes and style that they love and admire. Get a mental picture of how you’ll look sporting something you’ve always wanted to wear to give you some motivation.
5. Imagine that you love to exercise. Rely on the power of imagination to help give yourself the initiative you need. First speak with people who love to exercise and imagine yourself being just like them being passionate about getting fit and in shape.
6. Don’t let negative thoughts interfere. It’s easy to think negative thoughts about yourself when you’re tackling a big and difficult obstacle like losing weight, but you have to make sure to keep these kinds of thoughts out during your meditation. Replace them with happy, supportive ones instead.
7. Kick all unhealthy habits and foods out of visualization. Don’t let your mental fantasies include unhealthy foods and behaviors. You might really crave them but the purpose is to retrain your mind to let them go.
8. Breathe deeply and calm yourself. Once you’re calm, relaxed, and in control of your mind and body, you’ll be able to start thinking clearly about who and where you want to be
With awareness, small changes in your daily habits, constant practice and time you will succeed in making lasting changes in your approach to being healthier, in good shape and mindful eating.
Enjoy your next meal!
Joelle Beyrouthy is a yoga teacher and NLP life coach who has been practicing and teaching Yoga, meditation and mindfulness for over 10 years.