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Applying Mindfulness for Weight Loss and Healthy Eating

The Metta-Physics Magazine for living at the science-spirituality-religion interface. Bringing news, articles, features, videos for the deepest questions we ask ourselves !
greater london, london, United Kingdom ( 27/09/2011
Although everyone seems to know the procedures which are effective in losing weight,  and also the principles of sensible nutrition which are most important to prevent obesity,  in practice it’s extremely difficult to alter one’s eating behaviour.
Mindfulness for Healthy Eating
Only in recent years the idea, that  developing a habit of  eating of mindfully or being absorbed in the act of eating  with awareness, could be used  as an anti-obesity tool has  been investigated and been adopted into clinical practice. The  basic premise for a mindfulness-based eating program  the is rather simple:  we tackle the problem of craving for food head on, and being fully aware of  the thoughts and sensations  that the presence of food automatically triggers off, we achieve better control over our eating habits.
“When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’”

One such a recently published study (1),  aptly titled mindful eating and living (MEAL),  was carried out in an institutional setting (YMCA),  using group-based classes over six weeks based on “training in mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, and group discussion, with emphasis on awareness of body sensations, emotions, and triggers to overeat.”  Although information about the caloric value of foods and  general nutrition was provided, the focus of the intervention was completely different from general weight reduction programs:   it was the element of meditation associated with the act of eating that was repeatedly highlighted through audio programs, meditation sessions and group discussions.
Over the six-week period, all the participants in the study lost weight, and  a reduction in C–reactive protein ( a  blood protein marker of  inflammation often seen  to be raised in obesity)  in nearly all cases. In addition there was a significant reduction in levels of anxiety  noted by the participants, which was thought to  have been a significant factor in the first place leading to overeating.
Mindfulness for Wieght Loss
Mindfulness-based weight reduction programs are often based on the premise that  obese individuals  often lose touch with the internal cues that are vital for regulated eating– a sense of fullness after eating food, satiety, taste and the satisfaction obtained.   Such  loss of  the appreciation of the normal sensations   associated with eating  is often replaced by impulsive eating, leading to a vicious cycle of mindless eating. Mindfulness restores  the lost art of chewing carefully  focusing on on the foods in our mouth,  while being aware of the various sensations including a sense of fullness,  and being aware of  our own responsibility towards our selves  in not adopting harmful eating behaviours.
Who says meditation and spirituality in general does not encourage  us to enjoy our meals ?
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