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Mindful Eating For Weight Loss: Top 7 Science-Backed Tips 2023
Mindful Eating For Weight Loss – Fitness and wellness are not about how much you gain or lose weight. It is more about thinking healthy and living in a healthy body. When you realize this basic but important truth, things will get easier. This mindset leads to healthy habits and makes you feel better and stronger.
Eating disorders such as binge eating and obesity occur vicious circle with your psychological status. As a result of a Western lifestyle, we lose our mindset about living well, staying calm, or being aware of our eating habits. Also, it leads to excessive eating stimulation and false hunger cues, which is emotional hunger.
According to recent aspects about wellness and healthy lifestyle, mindfulness has taken the stage for losing weight, called mindful eating.
Can Mindful Eating Help With Weight Loss?
The short answer is yes, mindful eating can help you to lose weight and regulate your disturbed eating habits.
Obesity is one of the most psychologically challenging public health problems of our century. Disturbed eating behaviors such as binge eating and emotional eating are closely related to weight gain and obesity.
When you eat to meet your body’s natural needs, your body will only be content with taking in enough calories and nutrients and will not need more. However, the body’s satiety limit disappears when emotional eating and psychological factors are involved.
In the literature, a randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of 12 sessions of Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training on binge eating. The binge eating disorder levels of 150 overweight or obese participants were determined by a scale. Binge Eating Scale scores showed overall improvement one and four months after the intervention. Four months after the intervention, 95% of the mindful eating participants no longer met the binge eating criteria. Mindful Eating and Living, MEAL, the pilot study held with obese individuals, showed that mindful eating had significant improvements in body weight, eating behavior, and psychological status.
There are also systematic reviews in the literature examining the mindful eating effects on weight loss and binge eating. Researchers state that mindful eating may reduce binge eating and other eating disorders that lead to obesity.
In the systematic review published in a Cambridge Core Journal of Nutrition Research Reviews, researchers indicated weight loss in eight of the sixteen studies held with overweight or obese populations. In three studies, participants significantly lose weight, about 12 kilograms, over six months. In four studies, there was minimal weight loss or weight gain was stabilized/fewer in mindful eaters than in the control group. They indicated no changes with mindful eating intervention in one study.
These results prove that eating mindfully may be effective in weight loss and treating obesity-related diseases.
The Psychological Aspect Of Mindful Eating For Weight Loss
Psychological status is closely related to eating behaviors. When you are not in a healthy mental state, you may gain or lose weight easily but in an unwanted way. This effect tends to be expressed by triggering excessive food intake in general populations. Further, by gaining this type of unintended weight, you may feel even worse about yourself, with feelings of hopelessness and despair. The primary purpose of mindful eating is to purify eating from other unrelated emotions and thoughts and to focus on the essence of the nutritional experience without a judgemental stance.
Mindful Eating Definition
There isn’t an exact definition of mindful eating. Still, several principles help to get the mindfulness concept in eating habits.
Mindful eating is the combination of eating habits and mental state about conscious and healthy food choices, awareness of eating experience, and feeling exact physiological hunger and satiety cues. To respond to these physiological cues, you prefer to eat healthy to get the best nutritional content from food. It is crucial to stay in the present moment to experience eating and the food you choose in mindful eating.
Mindful Eating For Weight Loss – It starts with paying attention to the food. By this, you can realize the effects of foods on body health and focus on the feeling while eating that particular food with its taste, texture, smell, and body reactions.
What Is The Difference With Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating for weight loss rejects the “diet” term and labels foods as good or bad. Intuitive eating is defined as eating with the encouragement of feeling hunger and the satisfying feeling you receive from food intake. Like mindful eating, This concept also focuses on the eating experience but without involving meditation; however, it is generally used interchangeably with mindful eating.
7 Mindful Eating Tips For Weight Loss
Do you want to start mindful eating for the above reasons but need help with where to start? Follow these steps on how to eat mindfully to lose weight:
Eat Slower And Focus On Your Meal
The body needs time for satiety signals to reach the brain. The reason is that satiety hormones are released after foods are digested in the stomach, and the intestines transmit neural signals to the brain.
For this reason, when you eat fast, you get a lot of food before the secretion of these hormones. Therefore, chewing food thoroughly, using your non-dominant hand to slow down your eating, or putting your fork on the table with each bite slows this process.
In addition, the atmosphere of conversation during meals with family or friends slows your eating. It increases the physical and mental satisfaction you get from that meal. For this reason, it is strongly recommended for family health that family members sit at the dinner table simultaneously.
Realize Your Physical Hunger Cues
Nowadays, it is often discussed that it is necessary to move away from the logic of diet. One of the reasons for this is that many diets specify the time to eat or fast without considering the body’s hunger and satiety signals.
Realizing and acting on your hunger cues is one of the most challenging steps of mindful eating. Do not always think that you are hungry because the clock says it’s time to eat. After all, your body will give you the proper hunger cues when you need to eat. However, it is necessary to listen to the body first to realize the real hunger cues. You can ask yourself these questions when starting to eat mindfully:
- Are you really hungry or just thirsty? First of all, drink a glass of water and make sure that your feeling of hunger is gone.
- Are you currently feeling sadness, anger, or regret? Or are you just bored? Could this be triggering your urge to eat?
- Are you hungry, or is it just a food craving for a specific food?
If your answer is yes, you may not be in a real state of physiological hunger. In addition, if you have health problems related to insulin and blood sugar regulation, you may feel hungry due to blood sugar fluctuations. To treat these health problems, you can talk to your doctor and registered dietitian for guidance.
Stop Eating When You Full
At first sight, the most important and challenging part is stopping when you are full, but you can train yourself step by step. You need to give yourself enough time to feel satiety, but you can get help from foods that make you feel full.
These foods are high-volume and low-calorie foods. Such foods can include vegetables and fruits due to their fiber and water content. When you eat foods such as leafy greens, whole grains, or juicy fruit, there will be tension in your digestive system that stimulates the satiety signals
Notice The Texture
One of the most important focuses of mindful eating is staying in the present moment and becoming aware of the experience of eating. For this, it is stated that focusing on the taste, smell, shape, and feel of foods is necessary. In this way, you eat by being aware of how much and what you eat.
The first thing you should do to realize what you are eating is not to eat in front of the screen. Many people prefer eating in front of the TV or watching a video on their phone, but this is a bad habit that can trigger overeating and reduce satiety signals.
Focusing on the pleasure you get from foods and their benefits will also impact your satisfaction. This will prevent repeated eating attacks.
Do Not Feel Guilty
The feeling of guilt and regret with eating is the biggest factor that disrupts our bond with food. The act of eating, which is one of our basic needs and basic instincts for our life, is quite natural, and feeling regret about it can cause great damage to our psychology and subconscious.
It is necessary to be aware that we provide the macronutrients, vitamins, and mineral needs of our body while eating.
Eat For Nourishment Of Your Body
When you adopt the idea of nourishing the body, which we discussed in the previous step, you will see that you care about the quality and benefit of the foods you intake.
Choosing the beneficial nutrients for your body requires creating a quality nutrient pattern and getting enough of each nutrient. This way, you will witness your body reach its best state over time.
Appreciating Your Food
One of the most important points of mindfulness is to capture the feeling of gratitude and satisfaction for the moment and what you have. This also applies to mindful eating.
You can eliminate negative thoughts about nutrition and food when you recognize the importance of having the foods you eat and a healthy body that can eat those foods. It creates the motivation to stay in the moment and experience eating. This motivation encourages you to make healthy choices.
The Bottom Line
Mindful eating is a good way to fix your broken relationship with food. Since it contains many meditative ways of thinking, it helps to cope with the psychological outcomes of eating attacks and obesity, especially of psychological origin.
When you realize the importance of nourishing your body and how natural it is, you will discover how easily you can overcome your weight problems. You can get support from your psychologist and registered dietitian to practice mindfulness and adopt this mindset to nutrition.
+ 15 sources
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