Can mindful eating help with weight loss?

If you want to lose some extra kilograms then it’s important to become familiar with the concept of mindful eating.

According to research, adopting a more mindful way of eating can go a long way to help you solve your weight loss issues and apply a healthy diet without processed food and unhealthy food choices.

Mindful eating is a new alternative method used to help people lose weight. The Buddhist concept of mindfulness is used as the basis of this approach. This concept implies that one should be completely present to everything that’s happening within and around at a specific moment.

But that’s not all! The Buddhist concept of mindfulness and its techniques are also extremely beneficial for relieving stress and some health issues like chronic gastrointestinal problems or high blood pressure.

What is mindful eating?

When it comes to eating, mindfulness refers to being present and noticing food flavours, smells, colours and textures.

Researchers have estimated that 30-40 per cent of the total digestive response to any meal is due to your full awareness of what you’re eating. That means that if you fail to register any sense of taste, smell, satisfaction or visual interest in what you are eating, then you are metabolising your meal at only 60-70 per cent efficiency and your body won’t get the benefits of all the nutrients from the food you’re consuming.

Trying to concentrate on anything else at meal times means that your attention isn’t solely focused on what you’re eating and from a mindfulness perspective, this means that you’re likely to fall into distracted eating.

Try to eliminate any distractions when eating such as watching TV, scrolling on your smart phone or even listening to your favourite podcast, as distracted eating is one of the main reasons we tend to overeat.

How are the brain and the gut connected?

Have you heard that the gut is being called the second brain?

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and the creator of the Hippocratic oath, said 2,500 years ago “All disease begins in the gut.”

Your gut is wired back to your brain and messages travel back and forth. When those messages alter for any reason in any direction – from the brain to the gut or the gut to the brain – your health will suffer.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Sayings like “my gut feeling” and “I have butterflies in my stomach” are real physical phenomenons, not folklore.

The process of digestion involves a complex chain of hormonal signals sent between the gut and the brain. Your brain will note satiety (fullness) only after 20 minutes. So, if you eat too quickly, your brain will record fullness only after you have overeaten because your brain didn’t convey the message before that.

Mindful eating as a treatment for binge eating

According to several studies, mindful eating can be beneficial when treating certain eating disorders like binge eating. One study on 150 binge eaters, conducted by researchers from the Indiana State and Duke University, compared three groups of people.

  • the first group was treated with a mindfulness-based therapy
  • the second group used a standard psychoeducational treatment
  • the third group didn’t use any treatment (a control group)

Both therapy groups resulted in reduced binge eating and reduced depression. However, the treatment group based on mindfulness suggested that the participants ended up enjoying their food more and stressed less about controlling their diet. What’s more! The participants who practised meditation at mealtimes and during the day got more benefits from the study.

Basic mindful eating tips and tricks

  1. Before you sit down to eat your meal set a timer for 20 minutes. It will tell you when to stop eating and to wait for your brain to record satiety.
  2. Dedicate the first five minutes of eating to silence. All you should think about is the food, from what it took to produce it to the farmer, the supermarket and to the cook.
  3. Appreciate what you’re eating and pay close attention to the taste, smell, sight and texture of your food before you even put it in your mouth.
  4. Next time you eat, make sure that you don’t do it in front of the T.V., while on your computer or on your phone.
  5. Try to chew your food as much as you can before you swallow it, ideally 20-30 times.  Aim for 15 chews or more for the first few days and work your way up gradually. This creates enzymes which help with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  6. Get into the habit of pausing in between bites of food before you gear up for the next one. Try putting down your knife, fork or spoon as soon as the food is in your mouth.

In future, be aware that you can eat the healthiest, most nutrient-dense meal, but if you eat it in an unconscious state your body will not digest its nutrients properly.

I have a FREE 4-Day Mindful Eating Challenge so click on this link to access it so that you can start to eat mindfully and learn HOW to eat in order to drop some extra weight.

Medical Disclaimer: All information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent health problems. For all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.