You have all heard the term “Mind Your Own Business.” Well there has been a new trend in the last year or so that puts a spin on that phrase to “Mind Your Own Fitness!” It is all about “mindfulness” and health. You can learn a lot more about this concept in a book coincidently called, Mind Your Own Fitness – by professional trainer Greg Justice and nutritionist Cynthia Lechan- Goodman – available on Amazon.com
Basically, “Mindfulness” is the Eastern concept of being more “aware” — and when it comes to eating, being more “aware” of what you eat, how you eat, why, and when you eat, could be the key to long term and effective weightloss.
You have heard the Hound often write about the Mind-Body connection. There is a growing body of evidence for a “mind gut connection.” Harvard University researchers have suggested that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with many of the problems associated with overeating, especially those related to stress and making more healthy food choices.
This idea of “mindful eating” has its root in other mindful health practices such as the techniques discussed in Justice’s and Lechan’s book. The authors have offered mindfulness techniques as a way to not only lose weight, but relieve stress, improve any kind of workout routine, and even alleviate problems such as high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal difficulties and improve overall health.
When specifically applied to eating, mindfulness means taking notice, and using all of your senses when eating. Take the time to explore and enjoy the color, smell, flavor, and even the texture of your food. In mindful eating you need to savor every bite, chew more slowly, and eliminate any distraction like watching TV or reading, or driving – while eating.
Mindful eating also means getting “in touch” with your feelings about food, and learning to deal with pressure and anxiety about food and weight.
Several studies have shown mindful eating could help with weight loss, and may even aid those suffering from eating disorders. Jean Kristeller a Psychologist at Indiana State University conducted a study of mindful eating techniques for the treatment of binge eating. She concluded, “The mindfulness-based therapy seemed to help people enjoy their food more and have less sense of struggle about controlling their eating.” The specific mindful techniques taught to the participants in the study resulted in reduced levels of binging and depression. There are several similar studies under way at respected universities throughout the country.
Eat With Your Eyes
Naturopathic physician Dr. Holly Lucille suggests that one of the easiest ways to get into a more mindful approach to eating is to “eat not with your mouth, but your eyes.” She explains that most people think digestion starts with chewing, but “it really starts in the eyes and in the nose. If food is appealing, and it smells good and you take the time to take that in, that starts to secrete your digestive enzymes.”
As you use all of your senses in mindful eating, you will develop a more discriminating palate. Naturally, this will lead to better eating habits as you will notice how much better healthier food choices smell, look and taste – than junk foods.
Here’s the thing, if you have a weight issue, you probably enjoy food, but you may have forgotten the true pleasures of eating – gorging yourself just to get to the satisfied point.
In mindful eating, remind yourself of your love affair with food, but learn to enjoy it the right way — take the time to savor each morsel. Relish the art of your meal, its tastes, its smells, and its colors – and you will likely find that you will not only enjoy each meal more – but actually eat less!