Mindfulness: Losing weight isn’t choosing what to eat

It does not matter what you eat. Everyone knows that it is important to eat fresh products that contain few calories and that you have to stay away from snacks full of sugar and fat.

But it’s often about the way you eat. Mindfulness can help, according to an article in Current Obesity Report.

One of the benefits of attentive living and eating is that people become aware when they eat without thought, says Ronald D. Siegel, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School who pays attention to the subject.

“Few of food just to satisfy the hunger. We also eat to push away grief, stress or irritation. That is a recipe for ‘mindless eating’. You eat on autopilot, without paying attention to how you really feel, emotionally or physically. ”

These habits lead to you wanting to remember but it does not. Addiction expert G. Alan Marlatt puts it this way: you are planning to eat healthy but then you see a chocolate cake. ,, Your resistance breaks and you eat a lot, but then you feel so bad about your lack of self-control that you have to comfort yourself. So you end up eating the whole cake. ”

Once you are aware of these patterns, the next step is to find a new way to deal with cravings for snacks. Simply avoiding tasty but unhealthy food is difficult, because you run into it everywhere.

Mindfulness can help you notice the craving and recognize that you can deal with the discomfort, which may be accentuated by unhappy emotions. By turning your attention to those feelings and practicing self-awareness, you can notice that the feelings come and go.

“Urges and cravings comes in waves, and we can ride them out,” says Dr. Siegel.

Another aspect is that of self-acceptance. If you succumb to a temptation, forgive yourself and continue with your life.

“Nobody is perfect, you do not have to torment yourself,” says Siegel.

The first studies that have been done with mindfulness, according to Siegel, are hopeful.

Another promising strategy noted in the review includes different types of mindfulness meditation, such as an eating-focused practice in which people were taught to acknowledge their hunger levels, emotions, thoughts, motivations, and eating environment with acceptance but without judgment. The practice was most effective when combined with self-compassion, which involved repeating phrases of good will and benevolence for oneself and others. image: © Shutterstock  source:Harvard Heart Letter

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology, part time at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for over 30 years. He is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation and serves on the board of directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy.

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