Mindfulness and Weight Loss
The majority of people who follow restrictive diets, those that put strict rules on what or how much you can and can’t eat, regain the weight within 5 years. Almost two-thirds regain more weight than they initially lost. This says something very powerful about “dieting”: it works in the short term (maybe), but does not get to the root of our weight gain. Those who adopt small changes for a healthier eating lifestyle have greater success in the long run.
How can we do that? One of the first steps to making lifelong changes is awareness of what your current eating behaviors are, and why. Practicing mindfulness with our food includes being aware of internal hunger and fullness cues, not using food for stress relief, choosing enjoyable and wholesome foods, thinking through food choices instead of relying on impulse, and non-judgmentally accepting food preferences. Research has shown that increasing mindfulness can not only help with weight loss, but also can decrease overall stress and body image concerns, and affect food preferences.
Try this introductory mindful eating exercise, “Raisin Consciousness,” developed by expert Dr. Kabat-Zinn and colleagues. Are you a mindful eater?
Raisin Consciousness (source: University of Minnesota)
- Sit comfortably in a chair.
- Place a raisin in your hand.
- Examine the raisin as if you had never seen it before.
- Imagine it as its “plump self” growing on the vine surrounded by nature.
- As you look at the raisin, become conscious of what you see: the shape, texture, color, size. Is it hard or soft?
- Bring the raisin to your nose and smell it.
- Are you anticipating eating the raisin? Is it difficult to not just pop it into your mouth?
- How does the raisin feel? How small it is in your hand?
- Place the raisin in your mouth. Become aware of what your tongue is doing.
- Bite ever so lightly into the raisin. Feel its squishiness.
- Chew three times and then stop.
- Describe the flavor of the raisin. What is the texture?
- As you complete chewing, swallow the raisin.
- Sit quietly, breathing, aware of what you are sensing.
By Abby Forman, Registered Dietitian with Bon Secours Physical Therapy & Sports Performance
For more information about nutrition and choosing healthy foods, visit us at http://www.bonsecoursphysicaltherapy.com/category/nutrition-weight-loss/.
For information about Bon Secours’ Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program: call (804-287-4528) or visit http://goodhelpdocs.com/doctor/joynita-nicholson/ or http://goodhelpdocs.com/provider/daphne-bryan/