What they don’t tell you about Mindful Eating
You’d think that Mindful Eating is the solution to all diet issues if you follow the news. Actually they tell you that Mindfulness is the answer. Well guess what? It’s NOT the solution to life or to dieting issues. Sure Mindfulness is a great practice that can help you relieve stress and dial down your perception of what bothers you. But that means you have to ignore your phone, your texting and everything else you are doing in the way of multi-tasking. You have to do one thing at a time. I think Americans (at least the ones I see around me in San Diego) are addicted to mutitasking- especially in the car when they are driving and texting at the same time. Sometimes these same people are also eating at the same time!
I was driving and found myself next to a woman in the next lane to me with a dog on her lap, coffee in her hand and the phone in her other hand. She was driving with her LEGS!! Where are the police when you need them?? Probably there’s not even a law against that (at least in Arizona, where this happened).
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is simple. It’s paying attention to JUST EATING: not reading, texting, watching TV, talking with others. It’s focusing on your food, enjoying your food, taking your time eating and chewing, and listening for when your stomach says you have had enough. Your brain can really only do one thing at a time, although we’ve been fooled to think that you can multi-task and do many things. Your brain actually cycles between paying attention to the different activities or thoughts you are performing, and in reality it takes longer, you make more mistakes and don’t do any of the things as well as if you did it alone! Then there are the misconceptions about what mindful eating actually does…. Problem 1: So many of the mindful eating gurus are thin that you might think that this is a new diet –
Mindful eating is NOT a diet. Some people lose weight, some people GAIN weight and some people stay the same while eating mindfully. If anyone tells you that you will lose weight eating mindfully, they are trying to sell you something and not telling the truth.
Problem 2: You can still be following a diet strategy while you’re eating mindfully. You can diet while eating mindfully, but it still will have a negative effect on your metabolism because dieting is stressful for your body.
Dieting alerts your body to the fact that it’s getting less food- and to prevent you from starving it AUTOMATICALLY slows down your metabolism, and makes you feel lazy to conserve calories! It also puts your body into a state of stress!
Problem 3: If you are stressed, mindful eating goes out the window.
Mindful eating takes practice- just like meditating. In fact, mindful eating is a form of meditation- focusing on one thing at a time. So many people in the west say they “can’t” meditate. But the truth is, it takes time and practice to be able to maintain your mind’s focus. There are some days when you’re great at it, and others where it feels like it’s next to impossible! And paradoxically, the days when it’s hard are the days when you need it most: when you are under stress. As with learning any new task, it takes time and practice. Start slow- for just a few minutes. Build up to 5 minutes. But commit to do it EVERY DAY. At some point you’ll find it’s enjoyable and getting easier. And this mindful practice transfers to other aspects of your life. But without a stress relief practice, being able to stay mindful when you’re eating and preventing yourself from going into a stress eating session and binging is HARD!
Mindfulness and meditation teaches you will power. That is one of the most valuable assets you can have in all aspects of your life. It’s the ability to make a decision and stick with it. I don’t mean the kind of will power to say “no” to dieting or eating a cookie or dessert (because I know that dieting doesn’t work in the long run). I mean being able to eat a cookie or two and NOT eat the entire box. Having will power means that even though you want to buy something outrageously expensive, that you can control your spending and not put yourself in debt. Having will power means that although the guy is incredibly handsome and coming on to you that you don’t cheat on your partner. Having will power means that your do the things you commit to! These are just some of the ways that having strong will power can improve in your life. Having will power means although something is stressing you out you don’t go directly to the refrigerator or panty to stuff your feelings with food. You can hold off and try an alternative to eating to calm yourself down. Having will power in your life can vastly improve your mood and even your sleep.
Stress Eating and Mindfulness
Mindful eating does not address the problems of stress eating! That’s why you need to have a go to method of dealing with stress- to STOP stress eating BEFORE it starts! If you get my report: “10 Powerful Solutions to STOP Stress Eating” you’ll be well on your way to preventing weight gain from emotional eating. Get it now and read it – and let me know your favorite and most effective method.