Mindful Eating Weight Loss: Inspiring And Empowering You To Transform Your Eating
Eating is such a routine behaviour that it can be done with little or no thought, or on ‘autopilot’. Our behaviours can become unconscious, automatic or second nature processes, through which unhelpful habits are formed. My mindful eating weight loss approach helps clients to move away from mindless eating to more mindful, conscious eating.
Mindful Eating Versus Mindless Eating
Mindless eating is where we consume food without awareness, with little thought and little enjoyment, and if we’re eating mindlessly on a daily basis, this may lead to weight gain and health problems. In contrast, mindful eating is consuming food with awareness and enjoyment. Eating mindfully can help you to think before you eat, to check with yourself that you’re making the right food choice and to know when to stop eating.
10 Mindless Eating Behaviours That Can Make Us Overweight And Keep Us Overweight
1. ‘Hoovering up’ any food in front of you (if it’s there you eat it, whatever it is)
2. Not planning your meals and snacks- just grabbing the same old foods with little thought
3. Not checking the calorie content on a packet
4. Clearing your plate despite it being a huge portion
5. Eating foods from large packets without thinking about how much of the packet you’re eating
6. Overdoing it on the food just because you’re at a social event and you’re faced with lots of choice
7. Mindlessly choosing foods that you know won’t really satisfy your appetite and have you reaching for more food soon afterwards
8. Eating with lots of distractions and very quickly, so you barely notice what and how much you’ve eaten
9. Automatically going for 3 courses in a restaurant, not just one or two
10. Making a beeline for food as soon as you feel stressed, upset, bored or lonely.
Any of these sound familiar? What do YOU need to work on most?
Busy Lifestyles: Distractions Whilst Eating
It’s easy to eat on ‘automatic pilot’ particularly when you’re distracted by something else. Examples are eating in front of the TV, eating whilst chatting at a party, eating whilst ‘on the go’ or eating your lunch at your desk. If your mind is focused on other things, it’s easy not to notice what, or how much, you’re eating. Some people ‘graze’ throughout the day and pop things into their mouth without barely noticing. The manner in which you eat can really influence your enjoyment of food. The more you savour a food, the less likely you’ll want to eat more of it- therefore, the less we notice what we eat and the faster we eat it, the more we’re likely to eat.
Perhaps you’re eating a main meal but you’re too focused on the dessert to follow, so not really noticing the main meal. Perhaps you eat when you’re not hungry and have a tendency to eat ‘with your eyes’ so that you end up eating any food that happens to look good, and more food than you need. My mindful eating weight loss sessions invite you to experiment with new eating practises at home, to help you become a more mindful eater.
Monitoring Thoughts and Beliefs
Learning to eat mindfully includes identifying your motivations and excuses for eating, such as ‘I can’t let it go to waste’, and thoughts and beliefs that might hold you back from successfully controlling your weight such as ‘Food is my crutch when I’m stressed’. You might regularly eat when you’re not hungry because you’re a comfort eater- perhaps you automatically ‘soothe’ yourself with food when you’re bored, stressed, angry, unhappy or lonely. I can work with you to help you identify and address your underlying motivations for eating.
Awareness Is Power
If you’re aware of how you eat, you’re more likely to be able to change how you eat for the better. By becoming more aware, you can start taking steps towards improving the quality of your eating, both in terms of the actual behaviour of eating (how you eat) and actual foods (what you eat). Noticing whether you’re actually tasting (and therefore enjoying) a food, how fast you’re eating, or what situation has triggered you to eat something can be very valuable in helping you to become a more mindful eater. My mindful eating weight loss sessions can give you a great foundation on which to start.
Planning your food in advance is an important aspect of any mindful eating weight loss plan, as it can help you to select a healthier food rather than a less healthy one that you might choose on impulse, such as when you’re very hungry and in a restaurant. Thinking about what you’re going to eat beforehand can help you to prepare for temptations as they arise- if you know in advance roughly what you plan to eat and plan to avoid, you’ll be in a stronger position to make better food choices.
If you’re interested in my mindful eating weight loss sessions and would like to arrange individual or small group sessions, then please contact me.
For additional information and tips see my blogs.