Mindfulness for Weight Loss: are we eating mindlessly towards obesity?
Mindfulness is the sense of being completely immersed in the present. It is about experiencing what we are doing right now and not thinking about what we have done yesterday or what we could be doing tonight. It was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American Professor and creator of the stress reduction clinic and the Centre of Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Mindfulness for Weight Loss is certainly in vogue at the moment as we have become an “eating on the run” society, with quick options, distracted by television, social media and Iphones wrongly sharing our eating time.
How does mindfulness help you?
Mindfulness helps us deal with anxiety and depression by teaching us techniques that help us to engage more. If we are more immersed in what we do, we are less likely to focus on the negatives of the past, or to overthink an unpleasant situation and to gain real perspectives from taking a helicopter view of the moment we are in. Mindlessness is the opposite: when we are engaging in something without focusing on the present. A classic example of mindless eating is eating popcorn at the cinema. How often do we mindlessly shovel popcorn into our mouths and before we know it, the entire giant size container is gone and we are not even one quarter of the way through the movie.
Epworth Clinic which runs a private mental health service has some great tips on how to incorporate mindfulness into our lives. Epworth reminds us to “love a happy life”, “take a deep breath” and to “stand tall”.
Mindfulness for weight loss
There is no doubt that mindfulness is a technique and tool to master when trying to address our weight, chaotic eating and emotional eating. If we take the time to eat slowly, sit on the dining table, not eating while driving and to put our spoon down between mouthfuls, we are taking small steps towards mindful eating.
As a challenge for you, at dinner tonight, I want you to focus on your food completely, sit down at the dinner table and describe the taste, texture and smell of your dinner for 5 minutes with your partner. This is an example of being in the moment and mindful of what you are eating and enjoying it (or not enjoying it!)
A mindful weight loss journey
Look for ways to incorporate mindful eating techniques into your life. If you would like to learn more about mindful eating and psychological techniques to manage your weight, have a look at our Redefine CBT online weight loss program which uses mindfulness as some of its behaviour strategies. Our Medical & Mind Weight Loss Psychiatrist Dr Terence Chong, talks about mindfulness for weight loss in the video below.
For anyone who did try my challenge above for an insight into mindfulness for weight loss, please comment below and tell us about your experience.