by Dr. Donna Goldstein
Keys to Long-Term Weight Loss Success
Do you eat on the run, in your car, at your desk or in front of the TV? We have a myriad of distractions all around us. Have you ever opened a bag of chips or cookies with the intent to have one or two, and before you realized it, they were gone? This is an example of mindless eating. Pure and simple. Eating mindfully can impact how much you eat and ultimately your weight loss success.
The goal for mindful eating is to experience food more intensely by paying attention to the sensation and flavor of each bite.
1 Make eating a special time. When possible, use a tablecloth, real plate, napkin, glass and silverware. Light a candle and put on some soft music. Make the setting pleasurable and attractive (even if you’re eating take- out).
2 Minimize distractions. Eliminate television and other extraneous noise. Be in the moment by paying attention to what you’re eating. The fewer things you try to do while you eat, the fewer things you spread your attention over, and the more you can focus on what you’re eating. Notice the color, smell, flavor and texture of your food. Eliminate the multitasking while eating.
3 Tune into your hunger. Are you truly hungry? Is it possible that instead of being hungry, you are bored, angry, thirsty or frustrated about something? Try to become more self-aware and ask yourself, “Is this food what I truly want right now?”
4 Slow down. First, eating more slowly will allow you to enjoy the taste and texture of your food. Second, it will allow your brain to get the signal you’re full which takes about 20 minutes. Enjoy what you prepared or purchased. Many of us hurry through our meals to get to the next thing on our “to-do” list. By chewing and swallowing more slowly, you will automatically be consuming less food and improve your digestion. Another mindful approach is to use chopsticks. Again, it helps you concentrate on the food.
5 Watch for the pause. During a meal, people sometimes unknowingly take a break. They put their fork down and stop eating. This is referred to as the eating pause. What usually occurs after the pause is mindless eating. Watch for this pause and take a break when you find yourself wanting to put your fork down. Maybe you’re more full than you think and it’s time to stop or leave the table.
6 Be thankful. Tune in and express gratitude prior to and even after eating. Mindful eating helps nourish your body and provides a more satisfying experience. Think about your appreciation for the food—where it came from and how it made its way to your table. How did it get to the grocery store or your farmers’ market? As you reflect, express gratitude to the people who gave their time and effort to contribute to the food.
7 Put your fork down. While you are chewing, put your fork down. Stop preparing your next bite while your mouth is full. Enjoy what is already in your mouth. Then decide if you need another bite. There’s no need to eat every morsel of food on your plate!
8 Eat in designated areas. By limiting your eating to the kitchen and dining room areas, you are far less likely to graze and eat calories you hadn’t planned. You’ll be far less likely to eat mindlessly or eat while being distracted.
9 Keep Food Tucked Away. When you’re finished with a jar, bag or box of food, wrap it up and put it away. The longer it sits out on the counter, the more available it is for you to continue eating even after you’re full. Another tip is to put foods out of site that you find tempting.
Studies have shown that mindful eaters consume significantly fewer calories, digest more effectively and have an easier time maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI). When you begin eating mindfully, you don’t enjoy it less—you enjoy it even more!
Dr. Donna Goldstein, a 25-year veteran psychologist and certified health coach, teaches a new way to eat and a new way to live that can help you break the cycle of “yo-yo” dieting for good. She has maintained her own 70 lb. weight loss for over 10 years and has helped her clients lose thousands of pounds with no drugs or surgery. She helps people worldwide. For more information or your free weight loss/lifestyle plan, call or text 954-292-8477 or visit BodyWisdomByDrDonna.com.