Mindful Eating: The Anti-Diet That Can Help You Lose Weight for Good

If it’s a fresh, hot off the press weight loss plan, we’re trying it. Diet after diet, many of us crack and end up back where we started, diving head first into a cheesecake. What if there was a way you could reach your weight loss goals without having to follow another crazy strict diet? If you think this sounds too good to be true, you’re wrong.

The truth is fad diets work until they don’t work. Think about the last time you started a new diet plan. You were excited and ready to tackle it full force and it seemed like something you could stick to for a long time. Fast forward three weeks into the diet, when your willpower starts to dwindle and food cravings begin rearing their ugly heads. You can only exercise your willpower muscle so much until it cracks, leading you into an all-out cheat fest on those foods you banned from your diet.

This is where a useful tactic called mindfulness can come in handy. You might have experienced the word ‘mindfulness’ being mentioned in the yoga community. Being mindful while eating is similar to utilizing mindfulness during your yoga or meditation practice. It is a simple and practical method that can help you stay in the moment when you sit down to have a meal, which will have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. We live in a fast-paced environment, where it’s not uncommon to multitask throughout the day in order to check things off our to-do lists. By practicing mindfulness during each of your meals, you will be able to listen to your body and react accordingly to the signals it’s sending you. Follow these tips before you sit down for your next meal and you will be on your way to a healthier relationship with food and your body.

Try not to label any food “off limits.” This only makes you want said food more, increasing the likelihood that you will binge. If you’re craving a particular food, allow yourself to have it. Before you take the first bite, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or if you’re bored, stressed, sad or angry. If you are experiencing true hunger, allow yourself to have that food and enjoy every bite.

Before you take the first bite, sit in a quiet place, free from any distractions such as television, computers or phones. That means no social media! If you can, leave all electronics off the table and focus on what’s going on around you. Chew each bite of food slowly and actually taste your food. How does it taste? Is it too hot or cold? Spicy or bland? Don’t be so quick to douse your meal with salt before even trying it!

Take a few sips of water between bites to help you digest. Every so often, check in with your body. When you’re about a 6 on the fullness scale, put down the fork or spoon and stop eating. You want to be satisfied, not overly stuffed.

Practicing mindfulness around eating will not only help you lose weight, but it will help you appreciate food. Food is not a scary monster under the bed. Just like we learned how turn off our bodies natural hunger cues, we can re-learn how to react to them again.