In the world saturated with diets, weight loss supplements and meal replacement shakes promising weight loss, we still have the obesity pandemic. Even calorie counting and counting macros don’t always work as expected. This is where practicing mindful eating and living provides undeniable results.
We know obesity is a big problem. You might be suffering yourself or have at some point in your life. Even if you are not obese, you probably have some extra fat you would like to lose.
You have probably tried many things in your life. Detox diets, intermittent fasting, calorie counting, exercising and who knows what else. Maybe you even had a short-term success with it but in the end, you regained most of the weight you lost initially. You are not alone!
Here is the problem with the traditional weight-loss approaches. Most of them don’t educate you about nutrition. They work by imposing a set of rules and if you abide them, you will lose weight. Even if they educate you about calories and calorie counting and the role of macronutrients in nutrition, sticking with it long term is a completely new challenge.
Every day we see examples of people who successfully lose weight, but can’t keep it off. Losing weight and keeping it off are two different skill sets. Being mindful, will help you with losing weight and keeping it off afterward.
Most of my female clients are active women who do sports regularly and even they have trouble reaching their body goals regardless of how educated they are. Alex in our interview said “I knew I have to eat carbs to fuel my body for training, but I did not. I was afraid of carbs.”.
“I knew I have to eat carbs to fuel my body for training, but I did not. I was afraid of carbs.”.
Often, educated people have a bigger problem losing weight because they know too much for their own good. They read research and try approaches that are too complicated instead of taking the simple, steady route. Funny, it was when I was already educated about nutrition when I developed disordered eating behaviour! The cause was an excess of information that was out of context. Nowadays, there is a lot of information but weeding through them, understanding them, and applying them for your context is one of the reasons why I am passionate about nutrition and helping people to make peace with food once and for all.
The real problem we face often is a lack of mindfulness. By mindfulness, I mean being aware of your present state and making decisions based on your best knowledge and experience.
There is no pill that would guarantee fat-loss overnight, but Gastric sleeve surgery is the closest there is to it.
Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, is surgery for weight loss that involves removal of a large part of the stomach. After the surgery, the person feels full after eating a small amount of food.
So how do people who undertake this kind of surgery fare?
Women who did not change their eating behavior prior to this surgery gained all the weight back and then some more over the period of 24months. (study) In combination with the surgery, it is dangerous!
The main point is that whatever works short-term, does not wot need to work long-term if the underlying behaviour does not change.
It is essential to work on behaviours and habits.
Let’s take an example with sweet cravings. You can observe that at certain times you crave sweets.
Mindless approach, which we often see, is that when you crave sweets, you ‘intuitively’ feel the need for sweets. You say to yourself:“My body craves chocolate.” and you follow up by eating chocolate. Usually more than a piece of it. In that state you also eat it fast, almost inhale it, and in the end you are still not fully satisfied.
Mindful approach would be “I crave chocolate right now, but I know it is because I have been stressed. Is it chocolate that I crave or relax?”. You find out that what you crave is relaxation and therefore you focus on breathing slowly to calm yourself down and move around. Now you feel rested and maybe you decide to have a piece of chocolate, not because of the craving but because you simply want to enjoy it. You enjoy it slowly and you are fully satisfied with just a little.
Being mindful can be tricky
One of the biggest issues with being mindful is time investment into developing mindfulness. Often it is people who struggle with mindfulness the most, who don’t see a compelling reason to develop it. They often say they don’t have time to slow down. Then they search for tools that override these behaviours by setting rules like time restricted eating, keto diet, etc. If you are one of them, I challenge you to give it a try and practice it daily for a week.
Food and fitness industry leads us to disordered eating behaviours. Especially women.
Food industry constantly develops new ways how to serve you tastier, better looking, more enjoyable food.
This kind of food attacks your senses on all fronts:
it looks tasty
it smells amazing
it has amazing texture
it tastes amazing
it has intense flavor, which makes everything taste bland in comparison
Eating food that makes everything else taste bland often is disastrous, because your palate changes and you stop enjoying the “normal” food.
Fitness industry on the other hand promotes shakes, meal replacements and other dietary tools that should help you lose weight or build muscle, once again without being mindful about eating. Maybe that meal replacement shake works for you now, but will you keep drinking it for the rest of your life? Will you not eat normal, chewable food anymore? These unsustainable eating practices lead not only to failure sticking with a diet, but can make you feel like you failed yet another diet.
They never talk about things like:
Importance of developing a good relationship with food.
Exploring why you eat certain food.
What role food has in your life.
Originally, our access to food was very limited and it served as fuel only. Over time, the role of food in our society changed. Nowadays, food is easily accessible to us and we use it for many reasons besides fueling our body. We often use it as a tool to change how we feel and to solve our problems. Without being aware and educated about it, we easily slip and the food becomes our enemy.
If we don’t know better, we will keep abusing food, getting fatter, and suffer health and economic consequences. The industry changes all the time and new foods enter the market daily. You need to be educated about nutrition or the food industry will make you believe you are making the best purchasing decision even if you are not.
Learn to understand the energy content (calories) of food, the macronutrient and micronutrient composition of food and how it affects your body and mind.
The key to developing mindfulness is to focus on being aware. Slow down so you can stay in the present moment and be aware of why you eat what you eat (and do). Just being present will have a measurable impact on the quality of your life as well as your health and fitness.
Learn how to lose weight and keep it off
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