Mindfulness meditation is not just about relaxing, although that can happen. It is about tuning in, letting go of judgment, and embracing what you experience in the moment. Practicing mindfulness meditation helps cultivate that capacity to stay mindful, regardless of how compelling or overwhelming a situation feels, and that will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

5 Ways that Mindfulness May Help You Lose Weight

Mindfulness Tip to Lose Weight #1 – Let go of the struggle.

People tell me that, before learning to eat mindfully, it seemed to them as if they spent most of their waking moments worrying about food and their weight: what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and what effect it would have on the scale. With mindfulness, you’ll learn to let go of this seemingly constant struggle. And give this energy and attention to areas of your life that are richer and more important than whether you’re going to eat that brownie.

The patterns you have and the way you relate to food have been there a long time. It might take some time to re-create them, but you can begin to experience success immediately.

Mindfulness Tip to Lose Weight #2 – Turn mindless eating into mindful eating.

Our decisions around eating can happen in milliseconds: I want more. I want less. I’m terrible for doing this so I’m going to keep doing it. If I have this I’ll feel better about myself. Even as we’re obsessing, we’re often not even aware we are making decisions. By becoming aware, we can interrupt the cycle and gain freedom over the next moment. We can change our automatic reaction into a mindful response. Through meditation practice and mindful observation, you’ll learn how to notice what’s arising in a nonjudgmental way.

You’ll get in touch, through mindful eating, with what it means to be hungry, full, satisfied, and filled with pleasure, rather than with discomfort. You’ll learn how to make decisions around your eating that are enriching rather than painful. We are bombarded with a wealth of choices. You’ll learn how to stop and tune in to that wealth of choices without being overwhelmed and without drawing unnecessary boundaries.

Mindfulness Tip to Lose Weight #3 – Notice the thoughts that trip you up.

We bring a history to every meal we eat. For example, workshop participants tell me that they struggle to leave food on their plates because their mothers always told them not to waste food. When I ask, “Is your mother in the room?” some even joke, “Oh, she’s here all right.” I then ask, “I wonder if there are other things your mother told you to do, that you don’t do anymore?” And suddenly the room is quiet for a moment. Then I hear a chorus of, “Oh yes.”

With this book, you’ll learn how to feel comfortable leaving food on your plate no matter what your real or imagined mother tells you. And you’ll notice and respond to other unhelpful thoughts that powerfully affect your eating. How many times have you lost the battle between your willpower and your desire and told yourself, “I’ll just have a little bit?”

Then maybe you had a little bit more. Then you thought, “I’ve blown it,” and you kept eating until you felt physically uncomfortable or even sick? The “I’ve Blown It” cycle often reflects a sense of defeat: I can’t control myself anyway, so why bother? The secret to overcoming the cycle has nothing to do with shoring up your willpower.

Reactions get locked in and you might feel as if you didn’t have a choice, but with the power of mindfulness, you do. When you give yourself permission to be present with strong negative emotions, cravings, guilt, and other triggers as well as to enjoy the foods you love, you can gradually break this cycle, tap into your inner wisdom, and feel a sense of freedom when you eat.

Mindfulness Tip to Lose Weight #4 – Get away from the food police.

The idea of policing yourself—whether with a journal, a buddy, or the scale—often triggers a sense of rebellion and an inner voice that whispers, “Who says I can’t have this?” With mindfulness, you’ll shift away from policing yourself and toward understanding and nurturing yourself. Can it be helpful to keep track of your food sometimes? Yes, and I’ll show you in Chapter 6 how to do it in a totally different way, with a sense of curiosity and exploration, rather than as if someone were looking over your shoulder.

Mindfulness Tip to Lose Weight #5 – Let go of calorie anxiety.

I’ve worked with some people who fear calories so much that they don’t even like saying the word and never check to see how much they’re eating. Others obsess over minor amounts like 10 or 20 calories, counting up what they’ve eaten every day. With The Joy of Half a Cookie, you’ll learn to manage your eating and lose weight more flexibly, in much the same way as you manage your money if you’re on a budget—not an absolute set amount every day, but keeping an eye on the bottom line.

(Jean Kristeller, Omtimes.com)

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