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
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