Mindful Eating: A Beginner’s Guide

How a careful diet can help you lose weight.

Mindful Eating: A Beginner's Guide.  Photo: Asier Romero / Shutterstock.com

Mindful Eating is a technique that helps you control your eating habits. It has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce food overconsumption and help you feel better. Let’s take a look at what a careful diet is, how it works and what you need to do to get started.

What is conscious eating?

Conscious eating is based on consciousness, a Buddhist concept. It is a form of meditation that helps you recognize and deal with your emotions and bodily senses.

It is used to treat many conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety and various eating behaviors.

Conscious eating is the use of consciousness to achieve a state of full attention to your emotions, cravings, and bodily cues while eating.

Conscious nutrition.  Photo: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com

Essentially, a careful diet includes:

  • eat slowly and without distractions
  • listen for signs of physical hunger and eat only until you are full
  • distinction between true hunger and non-hungry urges to eat
  • using your senses, observing colors, smells, sounds, textures and flavors
  • learn to deal with guilt and eating stress
  • nutrition for general health and well-being
  • observing how food affects your senses and silhouette
  • appreciate your food

These rules allow you to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more conscious, healthier habits.

While the ideal dietary options for a balanced diet are similar to the Mediterranean diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils, this technique can be applied to cheeseburgers and french fries.

By really paying attention to the food you eat, you can eat these types of foods less often. Basically, careful consumption means paying full attention to the food – when you buy it, cook it, serve it and consume it. However, adopting this practice may require more than a few adjustments to your approach to food and snacks.

Conscious nutrition.  Photo: Pixel-shot / Shutterstock.com

Why should you try to eat carefully?

Today’s rapidly changing society entices people with an abundance of food choices. In addition, various factors divert attention from the real meal to TVs, computers and smartphones.

Eating has become a meaningless act, often done on the go. This can be problematic as it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you are full.

If you eat too fast, the signal may not come until you eat too much. This is very common with overeating.

With careful eating, you regain your focus and slow down, making eating a deliberate act rather than an automatic one.

In addition, by increasing the recognition of the signs of physical hunger and satiety, you will be able to distinguish the emotional from the true physical hunger.

You also increase your awareness of the stimuli that make you want to eat, even if you are not necessarily hungry. By knowing them, you can create space between them and your answer, which gives you the time and freedom to choose how to respond.

For example, people often eat stress. While the stomach is full and the body does not need food, the problem acts as a trigger and makes you eat.

Conscious nutrition.  Photo: Flotsam / Shutterstock.com

Careful diet and weight loss

It is well known that most weight loss programs do not work in the long run. About 85% of obese people who lose weight return to their original form or get over it within a few years.

Overeating, emotional eating, eating in response to the urge to eat has been associated with weight gain and weight gain after a successful diet. The vast majority of research agrees that a careful diet helps you lose weight by changing your eating behavior and reducing stress.

A 6-week group workshop on careful nutrition among obese individuals resulted in an average weight loss of 4 kg during the workshop and a 12-week follow-up period.

Another 6-month workshop resulted in an average weight loss of 12 kg without any weight gain over the next 3 months.

By changing the way you think about food, the negative emotions that can be associated with food are replaced by awareness, improved self-control and positive emotions.

Eliminating unwanted eating habits increases your chances of long-term weight loss success. Thus, a careful diet can help you lose weight by changing your eating behavior and reducing food-related stress.

Careful consumption and overeating

Overconsumption of food involves consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time, without thinking and uncontrollably. It is often associated with eating disorders and weight gain. One study found that almost 70% of people with excessive eating habits were obese. A careful diet can significantly reduce the severity and frequency of overeating episodes.

Another study showed that after a 6-week group intervention in obese women, the number of overeating episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 times a week. The severity of each episode also decreased.

Conscious nutrition.  Photo: Leszek Glasner / Shutterstock.com

Careful diet and unhealthy eating behavior

In addition to effective treatment for overeating, careful eating habits have also been shown to reduce:

  • Emotional food. It is the act of eating in response to certain emotions.
  • External nutrition. Occurs when you eat in response to food-related environmental elements, such as the sight or smell of food.

These unhealthy eating habits are the most common behavioral problem in obese people. Careful nutrition gives you the skills you need to deal with these impulses. This gives you responsibility for your body’s reactions, not by the whim of your instinct.

How to practice conscious nutrition

To practice consciousness, you will need a series of exercises and meditations. Many people find it helpful to attend a workshop, an online course or a master class on consciousness or conscious nutrition.

However, there are many easy ways to get started, some of which can have significant benefits on their own:

  • Eat slowly and do not rush to eat.
  • Chew well.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and lowering your phone.
  • Eat silently.
  • Focus on how the food makes you feel.
  • Stop eating when you are full.
  • Ask yourself why you eat, are you really hungry and is the food you choose healthy?

Initially, it is advisable to choose one meal a day to focus on these areas. Once you do that, awareness becomes more natural. Next, you can focus on incorporating these habits into more meals.

Conscious nutrition.  Photo: pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

How to know if a careful diet is right for you

Not sure if this diet style is right for you? Spoiler Warning: Careful eating is for everyone. “Everyone is a candidate for a careful diet. “Most people lose their sense of hunger and satiety around the age of 5 or when they enter the education system simply because they change from food when they need energy to food when they have a specific time,” says Amy Goldsmith, nutritionist. from Frederick, Maryland.

Think about it: you have probably been told since childhood when you should eat, whether you are hungry or not. Obviously this makes sense from a logistical point of view when you are a child, but one of the best things about being an adult is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Correctly? That’s right – and this can and should be included in the meal.

This does not mean that practicing consciousness and eating will be a walk. It will not take root if you are not ready to change your lifestyle. We, when we introduce new behavior or try to change the current ones, must be ready for that change. As with any dietary modification or change, you need to commit to seeing the changes you are looking for, whether emotional or physical.

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