It has now been described as the “missing link” to successful weight loss and the key to tackling the burgeoning obesity crisis in the Western World
And what is that link?
The relationship between our minds and our bodies and how mindfulness raises people’s awareness to signals in the body released in response to hunger and fullness.
Scientists are now looking into the links between mindfulness meditation and weight loss.
Scientists claim mindfulness is key to losing weight and keeping the weight off by tricking the body into wanting less food.
Much has been written about the positive benefits of mindfulness. The idea that you bring an awareness to the present moment and identify emotions as you feel them.
But could the habit also benefit the physical well being like reducing obesity, and by extension, the risk for heart disease?
As you age, weight doesn’t come off as easily as it did in when were younger. You can still lose weight when you’re 50, but you may need to take extra effort to incorporate regular exercise and caloric restrictions.
You may also find your weight gain accelerates and it becomes more difficult to lose that additional weight when you hit 50. Especially if it is belly fat. But that doesn’t mean these strategies don’t work.
But all of these programs focus purely on the relationship between calorie intake and exercise for weight loss. But no reference is made to the impact of our mind on weight reduction and the relationship it has on combining not only calorie intake and exercise. That is why science is now bringing both body and mind together as one in research into mindfulness meditation and weight loss.
Mindful Eating Can Help Weight Loss – Studies Shows
A report published in the Journal of Consumer Research, dieters eat less when they have had enough food even after “short exposure” to mindful eating.
The report said that people who paid mindful attention to their bodies were less likely to put on weight.
It states: “Alongside the widespread prevalence of mindfulness in the popular media, benefits of mindfulness have received support in scientific research.
“Mindfulness can improve responsiveness to internal hunger and satiety cues, based on its ability to foster an enhanced state of attention.
“Mindfulness might also influence consumption directly [and enhance] compensation for prior food consumption (eating less when full and more when hungry).
“We propose that even a short exposure to a mindfulness training can enhance consumers’ access to hunger and satiety cues.”
Researchers looked at the eating habits of around 1,000 adults in five separate studies with some having practised mindfulness.
It found those who did were able to regulate their food intake and were less likely to overeat especially if they had already eaten on the same day.
Author Evelien Van De Veer said, “Subjects who paid mindful attention to their bodies were less likely to put on weight over a three-year period than those who didn’t.”
He also stated that:
“We have argued that paying mindful attention to the body enables individuals to attend more closely to physiological cues of hunger and satiety.
“Our finding that only paying mindful attention to the body, but not mindful attention to the environment, leads to enhanced compensation also lends support to the idea that an improved access to hunger and satiety cues is the driving mechanism.
Dieters who eat mindfully become more aware of how much they eat
“A direct test of this hypothesis indeed shows that paying mindful attention to the body leads individuals to become more aware of the hunger and satiety cues that develop after preloads of different caloric contents.
Also, an article on Medscape explained how a medical conference had heard that mindful eating can help you lose weight.
US research has been presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity being held in Porto, Portugal, which suggests increasing mindfulness when it comes to eating is an effective way to aid weight loss.
Related Article: Mindful eating can help weight loss, study shows.
Brown University is set to launch a new centre for research and public service focused on increasing the quality of the evidence base and promoting adoption of well-proven mindfulness practices.
The Mindfulness Center at Brown University aims to help scientists, health care providers and consumers alike better understand whether particular mindfulness interventions work, for which health concerns, and for whom, said Eric Loucks, director of the centre and associate professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health.
Dr Eric Loucks, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Brown University, focuses his research on identifying biological mechanisms by which social factors such as mindfulness, education, and early life adversity may influence cardiovascular disease. hopes to prove.
In a recent study, Loucks found people who live in the moment tend to have less body fat. In a related study, he developed a framework for studying whether mindfulness intervention could help mitigate cardiovascular risks like smoking, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.
Loucks believes that because early humans had to hunt and gather their food, our brains are designed to eat as much as we can out of a subliminal concern that we don’t know when we’ll get more. Also, because the hunting and gathering required so much physical exertion, we’re also programmed to rest when we can, hence the aversion we sometimes feel toward exercise.
“However, the human brain and sense organs have not had evolutionary time to change responses to these types of sensory cues,” Loucks wrote in his study.
“My hypothesis is that for those who are more aware of their thoughts around eating they might start to notice negative emotions around diet if there are excess amounts consumed. They might also notice how they feel better when they are more physically active,” Loucks said in an interview.
Researchers are also looking into the effects of mindfulness meditation and weight loss by looking at stress, food triggers and cravings:
Reduce Stress Eating:
Researchers in the fast-growing field of mindfulness research are learning that simply changing how we eat might be a key to weight loss. Since stress is often at the root of overeating, mindfulness seems to make us eat better meals, and therefore helps us lose weight.
Recognize Internal Hunger And Fullness Triggers:
According to new research, mindfulness sharpens a persons ability to recognize internal triggers that signal hunger and fullness. By recognizing when you are full, you are able to stop eating sooner which helps you lose weight.
Reduce food cravings:
Mindfulness Also Helps To Reduce Cravings.
Mindfulness can disrupt that automatic reaction by reducing the appeal of unhealthy foods. Therefore when a food craving pops up in your head it appears as nothing more than a mere thought.
Traditional Habits Long Since Gone.
How many of us can remember going round to our grandparents and great-grandparents and share an evening meal with? For them sitting around a table was something that came naturally to them. Why? Because there were distractions, the family was the glue that held things together.
Family members shared there daily lives, together, exchanged views and learnt the value of communication. The upside is they learnt how to appreciate food.
So What Is Mindful Eating And How Can We Add It To Our Daily Lives?
Mindfulness is the act of focusing attention on present-moment experiences. Mindful eating means actually paying attention to the food you’re eating, making you less likely to eat large portions thoughtlessly and therefore help you lose weight.
Related Article: Mindfulness training may help you keep the weight off
Mindful eating is nothing new it has been around a long time, we have just forgotten about to use it.
Our lives over the century have changed dramatically but over the last 25 years. We have seen an acceleration in our fast-paced lifestyles, which basically has stolen the time we used to give to sitting down to a set table as a family, with friends and really enjoying and appreciating the food which was on the table.
Now we have the instant meal, the microwave meal, take off the plastic film and pop it in and wait for the “Ping.” Put it on a try and sit in front of the TV, we have become a society of pingers!
So why is mindful eating ‘a thing’ and what are the real benefits of mindful eating?
For myself, eating mindfully means just slowing down, being thankful for the food on the table and being satisfied and showing gratitude for the food we are eating. Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. That means allocating time to sit down and plan a meal to think about your diet and planning for the week ahead. It’s not easy with all the distractions we have phones, emails and the demands of daily life and it does take a mind shift to really appreciate the benefits of mindfulness meditation and weight loss.
Mindfulness Training May Help You
Try some of these basic ways to start encouraging mindful eating include:
- Being aware of your physical triggers vs emotional triggers. So, eat when you are hungry not when you are tired, emotional, stressed or when you just feel you need a treat.
- Replace your emotional needs with something other than food, this might be a walk, start to read a new book, start a new hobby or something you consider personally indulgent.
- Start to enjoy your food, take an interest in your food, think about the connection you have with it, where it came from. Learn to cook, try new things, and understand the nutritional value of your food and how it is going to help you lead a more healthy and balanced life.
- Turn off all distractions before you start to eat your meal. Turn off your phone, TV or other distractions that you can control and try to focus on the taste, smell and feel of the food as you eat it.
Applying these tactics daily will develop a healthier relationship between you and the food you eat and provide a myriad of other health benefits.
The author of The Mindfulness Diet, Doug Hanvey, M.S., teaches mindfulness courses and workshops at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, where he developed and first taught the curriculum that became The Mindfulness Diet. FREE RESOURCE-FREE DOWNLOAD
But It Doesn’t Stop There.
This is about changing your view on food it’s not a quick fix, it’s a life-changing decision to your relationship with food. You have made the conscious decision that you want to live a more healthy life based on a lot of things and food is one of them.
Like everything in life it never changes overnight, yes you are going to have those days when it doesn’t go according to plan, you were tempted by the second piece of pie or cake, that’s life you are only human.
The secret for you is how do you get back on the bicycle? It was just one day, one moment, tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start.
Understand that nothing works all the time, don’t be so hard on yourself don’t keep beating yourself up on every fall, incorporate a sympathetic approach to your thought process. You can change, and you’re figuring out how right now – real change takes real time.
Related Article: Cambridge University.
The bigger the issue, failure is still a success, you learn from failure you grow and understand, you try something different.
How you successfully manage your goals isn’t as much about avoiding setbacks as much as it’s about not giving those setbacks the power to dictate the rest of your evening or week.
It takes persistence, determination, focus, I could go on and with cliches. The bottom line is that you will fail on certain days.
You will cheat yourself on certain days and be filled with remorse on numerous occasions even hundreds of times, not just for you, but for anyone who really wants to change.
Keep trying in new ways and give yourself some credit for not giving up on making positive changes and living a life you can really feel good about and proud of
The Rule For Success And Goal Achievement – Asking For Help And Support.
People have more success when it comes to changing eating habits from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one is to develop a really strong support network. The realisation that maintaining an awareness that choosing to be healthy is a continual process, not a one-hit wonder and self-compassion will be part of the journey to a better a life.
And one fine point-Trying to change your relationship and eating habits on your own is so difficult and stressful.
So – Reach out for support, connect with a health coach who understands mindfulness meditation and weight loss, find a support group. Search out a therapist, find a holistic dietitian. Everyone has their own style when it comes to reaching out for support. Whatever your style of support is, link to it.