Through increased awareness, the classes you have attended with us, and following the guidelines we have outlined for you, you will be successful at losing unhealthy and unwanted excess weight. Keeping unwanted pounds off will still require an attitude of awareness and hard work to adhere to your new healthy lifestyle. The only magic bullet we have for long-term weight loss is a healthier eating and exercise approach to living. Here are a few more ideas and tips to help you as you strive to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.
Americans are great at multitasking. Our society seems to demand that we must do more in less time. There are times when this skill breeds success and then there are times when it can be destructive. Many of us have learned to eat while we’re doing one of many other things like driving, handling work or family demands, and even walking. Far too many of us eat in front of the TV, with little to no thought of what we are putting into our mouths. With these types of distractions, it makes it difficult to appreciate and enjoy what you’re eating which will often lead to consume more food than you need.
Mindfulness helps focus our attention and awareness on the present moment, which in turn, helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Mindful eating involves many components such as:
- Learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues
- Learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods
- Valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating
- Appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food
- Feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food1
Over the past 25 years, mindful eating practices have been shown to have a positive impact on our physical and emotional well-being including weight management. By implementing mindful eating techniques every day, you’ll be able to make better food and meal choices based on awareness of hunger and how your body is feeling. Remember, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to receive the signal that you’re full and if you’re eating too fast, you may get this signal too late, causing you to overeat. Mindful eating can help by incorporating all your senses and awareness of the food you are eating to help reduce hunger and increase a greater feeling of satisfaction and fullness as well as better weight control overall.
1The Center for Mindful Eating retrieved from http://www.tcme.org/ on April 21, 2011
The intuitive eating process was developed as a bridge between the anti-diet movement and the health community. It embraces the concept of body acceptance while eating nutritiously and rejecting the diet mentality. Intuitive eating is a lifestyle of healthy eating and getting back to your roots of trusting your body and its signals. Intuitive eating identifies different eating styles/personalities and adopts 10 principles to help weight loss seekers distinguish between physical and emotional feelings and find peace and satisfaction when it comes to food.
Two of the intuitive eating principles consider the concept of “eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.” To apply these principles a hunger and fullness scale is used. The scale helps the person to identify initial hunger when eating begins and then helps check fullness level during and after eating. The rating system is purely subjective but is intended to help you get in touch with your body’s inner signals. The scale range is from 0 to 10, with 5 being the neutral point when you are neither hungry nor full. The extremes on the scale correlate with 0 representing a stomach that is completely empty and the person is beyond ravenous. A 10 represents a stomach that is over full and the person is physically sick. The idea is to stay in the range of 3 to 7 and not let yourself get too hungry or too full.2
You have learned to eat slowly and chew your food well. Eating slowly hopefully has led to more satisfaction from the meal and a sense of satiety without overeating. Never eat over 8 ounces in one meal. If you find you are eating too fast and/or overeating, use the intuitive eating principle of honoring your hunger and respecting your fullness by utilizing the hunger/fullness scale.
2 What is intuitive eating? Retrieved from http://www.intuitiveeating.org/content/what-intuitive-eating on April 21, 2011