How Can Mindful Eating Help With Weight Loss?

Mindful eating is the act of bringing your attention to what you are doing in the moment: eating.

Too often, we use meal time to watch a TV show, get some work done, or engage in mindless conversation. You know the feeling when you sit down for a meal and you get up ten minutes later not remembering what you ate or how you ate it all so fast? That is mindless eating.

But where is the mind-body connection in all that? Mindful eating is paying attention to our food and surroundings when we eat. It is the act of actually eating in the moment when you’re eating.

I never quite got to thinking about the positive health implications of this beyond the fact that I began feeling more energized when I ate mindfully. But a plethora of recent research has shown that the benefits are much more than just emotional.

Mindful eating has a practical application when it comes to weight maintenance, treating obesity, weight loss, and even diabetes self-management.

In the April 2013 addition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers reviewed 24 studies conducted on mindful or attentive eating to see what impact it was having on diverse population groups. The researchers concluded that incorporating mindful-eating into our diets provides an accessible and reliable way to monitor our food intake, maintain our weight, and aid in weight loss without the need for dreaded calorie counting. [1]

One main area that mindful eating seems to be affecting is our self-control with how much we eat.

Through mindful eating, subjects seem more able to listen to their body’s physiological cues as far as how much food is needed, rather than just eating whatever is put in front of them. A study conducted on mindful eating in Australia found that mindful eaters end up eating smaller serving sizes of energy dense foods, which is reputed by nearly every diet to be an effective way to manage our weight and metabolism [2].

Mindful eating allows us to observe our emotions during meal times and not have them override our physical needs. Another study found similar results in University students.

86 percent of students who engaged in mindful eating ended up eating healthier diets and showed an ability to avoid overconsumption and weight gain (and presumably late night pizza runs) [3]. Through mindful eating we become more aware of what we are actually eating and are more likely to monitor our diets.

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