Every single day I receive amazing emails from people all over the world who are eager to share their story. They explain the many ways mindful eating has changed their life. Let me introduce you to Heather! She is one of the many people who sing the praises of mindful eating. Here is what Heather had to say about the benefits:
1. Dr. Albers: How as mindful eating been helpful to you/changed your life?
Heather: Being mindful to me is a life-long process/practice. Being in-the-moment and having a fun relationship with food. Food is not the enemy, the enemy is between our ears! I went to my nutritionist today and I am down 27 pounds. I know I shouldn’t be focused on the numbers but I want to give a shout out to being a practicing mindful eater.
2. Dr. Albers: Were there difficult aspects that you had to overcoming when learning to eat more mindfully?
Heather: Working around gym folks for part of my day you can say that the diet word comes up almost everyday. Many people have an, “Eat this, don’t eat that approach.” Being mindful allows one to choose what goes in your mouth whether you desire an apple or a bag of chips. That boggled my mind that if I want chocolate lava cake I can have it within the mindful eating guidelines. Which include am I hungry? Is this what I really want? Am I eating this because of emotional reasons etc.
3) Dr. Albers: Who has been helpful/supportive in this new way of eating (ex. friends family etc.)?
Heather: I went to a nutritionist/dietitian who specializes in eating disorders. Her name is Courtney Sansonetti. During my first visit with her, I was waiting for her to place the new and improved diet plan in front of me. Her first words out of her mouth was “I am not putting you on a diet because they don’t work.” She then introduced me to this mindful eating mentality. I was looking at her credentials on her wall because she just said, “No diets!!!!” What!!!!! My second thought was, “She crazy, one of those holistic nuts.” Right after thinking that she said and I quote, “I know it sounds out there, but it’s very practical.” “Great,” I said to myself, she reads minds too. I’m sure my facial expression didn’t help. After listening to her she asked me to go to the book store and to look up Mindful eating and so this is how I stumbled onto Susan Albers books. Haven’t been able to put down her books since then.
4. Dr. Albers: What are your favorite mindful eating tips?
Heather: There are so many helpful tips to choose from. I would have to say really being in-the-moment when eating. Giving eating my undivided attention, no distractions! Also, breathing and knowing that when I exhale my food will still be there!
5. Dr. Albers: How long have you been trying to eat more mindfully?
Heather: I think I’ve been doing mindful eating for three month now. It is a journey because as my nutritionist told me I will have to readjust from time to time. Nobody changes like a light switch. She also, said that each meal is another opportunity to be mindful and all other ways of thinking are a waste of time.
Way to go Heather! Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey toward mindful eating!
Do you want to ditch dieting for good but aren’t sure what to do instead? Mindful eating may be the answer for you. Consider that 95% of dieters gain back the weight they’ve lost within five years. In contrast, clinical studies have shown mindful eating to help people eat 300 less calories a day, reduce their body mass index, feel better about their bodies, prevent weight gain and have a better relationship with food. The good news is that mindful eating is not hard. Read this list to discover some of the most important things a mindful eater does on a daily basis.
1) Mindful eaters don’t eat until they are “full.” Full is an overused and misleading term. Mindful eaters tend to eat until they are no longer hungry or feel satisfied. There is a big difference. By the time you perceive yourself to be “full,” it is often too late, you’ve overeaten. If you’ve dieted for years, your hunger and fullness signals may be crossed. Mindful eating can help rewire your brain to know what genuine physical hunger feels like.
2) Mindful eaters pace themselves. This is not easy. We live in a world that stresses instant access and hurrying; eating is no exception. Mindful eaters tell themselves to “slow down” or try to check in with their pace. Intentionally shifting into a reasonable pace is often easier said than done. How to slow down while you eat is going to be a hot topic at the Mindful Eating Summit where 20+ mindful eating experts will share their knowledge for free this summer. Find out more by clicking here.
3) Mindful eaters are “Choosy.” While mindful eaters may seem like picky eaters, they are often just very discerning about the choices. Mindful eaters really taste food and if they don’t like it, they don’t eat it, just like picky eaters. Also, they aren’t afraid to tailor food to their particular taste. At restaurants, a mindful eater may ask the wait staff to make a few tweaks to their order like holding the bacon or asking for Swiss cheese rather than Cheddar.
4) Mindful eaters are forgiving and flexible. Yes, mindful eaters overeat on occasion! What they don’t do is obsess and beat themselves up as much as dieters. Mindful eaters know that tomorrow is another day and can “let it go.“ Often the strategy is to adjust the amount you eat at the next meal or snack.
5) Mindful eaters tend to gauge their hunger first before taking a bite. Being in the moment and fully present is key to mindful eating. Take a brief moment to ask yourself before taking a bite, “Am I really, really hungry? What I am feeling right now is…” This can help prevent you from walking into emotional eating.
6) Mindful eaters break out of old habits. When you know what habits keep you stuck like multitasking when you eat or nibbling while anxious, you can devote more energy and attention to these particular areas. Sometimes it is changing how you eat more than what you eat.
Is it worth it to adopt these habits? Yes! Hundreds of thousands of people have done it and so can you. To learn more about how a mindful eater thinks and feels, take the Emotional Eating IQ Test
Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and the author of six books on mindful eating including Eat.Q: Unlock the Weight Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Self, O Magazine, Shape, Fitness, and on the Dr. Oz show. www.eatq.com