Mindful Eating for Spring Weight Loss
Mindful Eating for Spring Weight Loss
You’ve heard it all when it comes to weight loss, and you’ve ridden the roller-coaster too many times to count. If you’ve gained a few over the winter—and really, who hasn’t?—there’s a really simple trick that yields real results. As you prepare your body for warmer weather, try mindful eating for spring weight loss.
You start eating a brownie…just one bite, you tell yourself. But you get distracted by the news on TV, look down, and discover you’ve eaten the whole brownie, even though you really weren’t that hungry! Who hasn’t been there and done that? The problem isn’t the brownie: it’s the interaction with it. Pediatrician Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., writing in Psychology Today, sums up mindless eating very neatly: “The problem lies in the mind. It lies in our lack of awareness of the messages coming in from our body…Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction…and how to best nourish it.”
Mindful eating is deliberately listening to the cues our body is giving us about hunger and being satisfied once we’ve eaten enough. It’s taking heed at a very conscious level to what’s happening inside our body, outside our body, and in our environment when we’re eating. In short, it’s paying attention to the act of eating.
Why Mindful Eating Matters
One of the most common results of weight gain is eating too fast. Writing for WebMD, public-health expert Kathleen M. Zelman explains the connection between fast eating and puttin’ on the pounds: “It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full.” Translation: Slow down—you’re eating too fast! And this could be preventing you from losing weight, even if you’re choosing healthier foods.
Practicing mindful eating by enjoying, savoring, and tasting every bite naturally slows down eating and optimizes your goal of achieving springtime weight loss.
Now What? Tips for Embracing Mindful Eating
The nutrition pros at Harvard Medical School give some really terrific tips for achieving a healthy weight. They emphasize the importance of making excellent food choices of course, but they also give some valuable tips for incorporating mindful eating into your daily routine until the principle becomes part of you.
- Make a shopping list, and make sure your cart includes mostly healthy items Don’t skip meals—coming to the table super-hungry will make you bolt down your food instead of enjoying it
- Start with smaller portions and eat slowly. You may discover that the smaller portion is really all you need to feel full!
- Eat with a grateful heart and stop to consider how fortunate you are to have something delicious to fill your stomach
- Pay attention to color, aroma, texture, and crunch. Savoring each bite helps you identify spices
- Take small bites and put down your fork in between each delicious mouthful. Be sure to chew thoroughly before moving on to your next forkful
Here are some more:
- Turn off distractions like your phone, TV, and reading material and pay attention to the pleasure of eating
- Learn to be happy with just a little. This is especially true of high-calorie desserts. You really don’t have to deny yourself completely in order to lose weight. The third bite is never as good as the first or the second: Stop after just a taste—you’ll be just as satisfied and won’t feel guilty
The Bottom Line
If your goal is to achieve spring weight loss, pay attention to your thin friends and how they eat. Chances are really, really good that they eat slowly, make good food choices, and practice many—if not all—of the principles of mindful eating. Get off the roller coaster for good, and bon appétit!