How Mindfulness Can Help You Lose WeightPosted: April 11, 2019 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
Do you ever catch yourself snacking while you’re bored or rushing through meals and workouts? These seemingly harmless habits can hold you back on your weight loss journey. Luckily, there’s a simple tool you can use to combat these behaviors: mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of awareness where you observe your emotions, actions, and surroundings without judging them. As more people experienced its effectiveness, mindfulness became a buzzword over the past few years. You’ll hear it used a lot during meditation, yoga, and counseling. Mindfulness can have a huge effect on your ability to lose weight because it increases your level of self-monitoring and decreases the guilt and shame you may feel about your weight.
The benefits of mindful eating
Simply put, mindful eating means focusing on your meal from start to finish. Pay attention to all of your senses as you eat: note the texture, taste, and smell of every bite. Mindful eating also means sitting down and avoiding multitasking. Doing this forces you to eat slowly so that your body has more time to adjust and feel full, which helps you avoid overeating. You’ll also feel satisfied and enjoy your meal since mindfulness takes your mind off any negative emotions you might associate with food.
Snack when you feel hungry, not when you’re bored
Practicing mindfulness constantly, not just while you’re eating, allows you to slow down and recognize how your mind and body are feeling before you start snacking. In a situation where you’re relaxing at home and you’re about to grab a snack out of boredom or habit, mindfulness stops you in your tracks. How are you feeling; are you tired or bored? Are you genuinely hungry, or craving food as a distraction? These are a few questions you can ask yourself. Don’t judge your answers, simply observe them and make a decision on whether or not to continue from there. Eventually, you’ll get into a healthier routine of eating when your body needs nutrients instead of providing it with too much fuel.
Increase the intensity of your workouts
Whether you’re at the gym or at home, it’s easy to get distracted during a workout. Mindfulness can help you get “in the zone” while you’re exercising so that you can burn more calories and build more strength. Focus on the feeling of the weight in your hand, the muscles you feel working the hardest, and so on. Every time your mind drifts off, gently bring your focus back to your body. Another mindful way to get the most out of your workout is to turn off your phone or make a music playlist before you start. That way, you won’t waste time checking social media, texting, or choosing a different song.
Mindfulness is all about boosting your mood and self-awareness, two things that can be immensely helpful while trying to lose weight. Since it’s natural for your mind to revert back to old thinking patterns, it might take some time to get used to the feeling of being present. Remember to take a moment and appreciate yourself every time you successfully finish a mindful meal or a distraction-free workout. You’re one step closer to a healthier body and mind!