Mindful Eating

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No one food plan is magical, and no specific food must be included or avoided. When designing a healthy meal plan people need only consider foods that they like or can learn to like, that are available, and that are within their means. Adopting a realistic plan which is nutritionally adequate would be the first priority.

Many people overeat to cope with the stresses of life. To break out of that patterns, they must first identify the particular stressors that trigger the urge to overeat. Then, when faced with these situations, they must learn and practice problem-solving skills. These skills will help them to respond appropriately to difficult situations.

When the problems that trigger the urge to overeat are dealt with alternative ways, people may find they eat less and that their eating behaviors begins  to respond appropriately to internal cues of hunger rather than inappropriately to external signals of stress. Sound emotional health supports a person’s ability to take care of health in all ways – including nutrition, weight control and fitness.

Self-esteem underlies emotional health & facilitates personal growth. Overweight people who have low self-esteem can learn to feel better about themselves even before they lose the first pound. A person can enhance self-esteem by fostering a positive view of the inner self and by developing a healthy relationship with the outer self, the body. To vies the inner self positively, practice positive thinking, make affirmative statements about oneself, and visualize success. People who believe they can lose weight are more successful at losing weight than those who expect to fail; people who view themselves  as “physically fit” are more successful at maintaining weight loss  than those  who view themselves as “fat” or even as “formerly fat”.

Behavior modification strategies to mindful eating:

  1. To eliminate inappropriate eating cues:
  • Buy foods that are low in fat
  • Shop when you are not hungry
  • Serve low-fat meals
  • Shop only from a list and stay away from convenience stores
  • Carry appropriate snacks from home and avoid vending machines
  1. To suppress the cues you cannot eliminate
  • Eat only in one place(at a table) and in one room; use plates, bowls and eating utensils.
  • Clear plates directly into the garbage
  • Minimize contact with excessive food (serve individual plates, don’t put serving dishes on the table, and leave or clean the table when you have finished eating).
  • Make small portions of food look large by spreading food out & serving on small plates.
  • Control deprivation (eat regular meals, don’t skip meals, avoid getting tired, avoid boredom by keeping cues to fun activities in sight).
  1. To strengthen the cues to appropriate eating and exercise.
  • Encourage others to eat appropriate foods with you.
  • Learn appropriate portion sizes and prepare one portion at a time.
  • Establish specific times for meals and snacks.
  • Prepare foods attractively.
  • Keep your walking shoes by the door.
  1. To engage in desired eating or exercise behaviors:
  • Eat only at planned times; plan not to eat after a specified time (say, 8:00PM)
  • Slow down (pause several times during a meal, put down utensils between mouthfuls, chew thoroughly before swallowing, swallow before reloading the fork, always use utensils).
  • Leave some food on the plate.
  • Engage in no other activities while eating (such as reading or watching television).
  • Move more (shake a leg, pace, fidget, flex your muscles).
  • Join in and exercise with a group of active people.

 

 

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