The first step in a weight loss journey is being aware that there are lifestyle changes that need to be made. However, even when you are aware, it can still feel overwhelming to create new habits. This is where mindfulness can come in handy.
Mindfulness is a word that your hear just about everywhere these days. Mindfulness means being more present in the moment. That can be as simple as noticing how your body feels. It may feel comfortable or uncomfortable; heavy or light; warm or cool. It can be as simple as listening to the sounds around you or noticing any smells or feeling the sun on your skin. Mindfulness is about pausing and paying attention to the present.
I’ve learned from personal experience working with clients that mindful eating is a key component to successful weight loss. Mindful eating starts with being grateful for the nutrient dense food on your plate. We are so blessed to have access to so much nutrient dense food these days. Pay attention to smells and flavors of the foods. Take the time to enjoy each bite.
Mindful eating also consists of slowly chewing your food, putting your fork down in between bites, and stopping when you’re 80% full. These small actions allow you to eat more calmly and to notice how your body is feeling.
I always encourage my clients to wait about 15-20 minutes after they’ve finished their meal to go back for seconds. It takes a little while for our bodies to realize we don’t need anymore food. This is something I practice in my life and it helps me not to overeat.
When we are more mindful of the food we’re putting in our body it’s easier to make healthier food choices. Mindful eating can help with emotional eating. When our emotions drive us to eat we usually reach for foods that are not the healthiest. Sometimes we eat because we are sad, anxious, or depressed and other times we eat because we are happy and enjoying a celebratory meal with friends. Mindful eating can help in both situations as it helps you listen to your body and pay attention to what your real needs are.
Mindfulness can also help when you’re not motivated to workout or go for a walk. Pause to pay attention to how your body feels right now. Then recall how your body feels when you are out in the fresh air and sunshine, surrounded by nature. There’s something very calming about being outside in the fresh air listening to the birds and watching the squirrels run up and down trees collecting food.
There are other ways to practice mindfulness including journaling and meditating. Some people find that exercise leads to increased mindfulness. Figure out what works for you and start implementing it into your daily routine. Try it for 21 days and take note of how you feel. Are your more present in the moment? Are you making healthier food choices? Do you feel calmer, and less stressed? You may also find that you are looking at your phone less while spending time with your loved ones. There are so many ways to benefit from increased mindfulness.
Now its your turn. What do you do to be more mindful?
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