Slim Down with Mindful Eating

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD


Improve your health with mindful eating habbits“Mindful eating” can make a world of difference on how you actually view your food. Weight loss therapy that puts an emphasis on mindful decision making and personal values will help you lose more pounds successfully. This new approach is referred to as acceptance behavioral therapy (ABT).

Scientists believe that behavioral therapy may help aid weight loss at a rate of 5 to 8 percent of initial weight. Sometimes even more. This unique approach also develops a deeper connection with food you eat. People who have mindfully committed to ABT therapy for a year are known to lose an average of 13 percent of their actual weight or greater.

Scientific Study on Eating and ABT

Scientists have put this theory to test by conducting clinical trials which involved standard as well as ABT therapy. Over 190 obese and underweight people were selected. The people were placed under standard and ABT therapy. Each of the groups attended 25 sessions annually which involved interactions with weight loss experts. The groups received training in areas of weight loss management, problem solving, eating habits, food cravings and exercise.

However, ABT therapy included additional components in which people were asked to select ‘personal values’ rather than just aiming to cut down pounds on bathroom scale. For example, an individual might choose to become a healthy grandmother. The mind approach concept helps people understand what they desire in life and how weight can affect their aim.

The decision making process to select or succeed begins in the mind. You can feel bad for selecting an apple pie slice over a sugar-free brownie. Many people would state that is how their brain works. Instead, focus on the behavior to change your angle of thinking. You can change your view on food if not your cravings. Practice by throwing away unhealthy foods and include healthy foods.

There are several factors that influence your decision to eat and the type of food to go for. Just being bored or watching TV might prompt you to mindlessly eat. ‘Mindful decision making’ in ABT therapy helps people understand how the cues from the environment have a direct influence on their decision to eat.

At the end of the year long trial, it was found that ABT therapy excelled over standard therapy. ABT patients had over 13 percent weight loss of their initial weight when compared to the 10 percent weight loss in standard therapy patients.

The research also showed that over 64 percent of the ABT individuals maintained at least 10 percent weight loss in the one year period. About half in the standard therapy group (49 percent) maintained the 10 percent weight loss in the one year period. Scientists suggest that after the initial ABT therapy people can always have booster session in a year and stay motivated through mobile apps.

Significance of Mindful Eating

Since people are biologically inclined to consume food, standard weight loss advice only works when you adhere to it. Besides being greatly tempting, foods also come with the reward of great taste and comfort. Calorie rich foods especially tend to be more tempting making them tough to resist.

Turn down unhealthy foods with mindful eatingThere are times in human history when food was scarce which sometimes apparently turned out to be beneficial for health. But the modern world readily offers surplus food in various settings. The temptation to binge on calorie rich foods has led to obesity and major health issues.

It is highly difficult to turn down such tasty foods no matter how much you try to resist. It really requires high discipline and ardent desire to keep away from high-calorie meals. Moreover, keeping off any excess pounds post weight loss is also crucial. It is here that ABT helps you to learn these key skills to boost your weight loss efforts.

Mindful eating is known to offer immense benefits, including:

Higher Eating Satisfaction

Eating mindfully connects you with food. It plugs your senses with food and keeping you under control. You experience the food in every bite. As a result, only a few bites would make you feel satisfied. This works great particularly if you are indulging in a high-calorie dessert – as just a few bites of it would be enough to satisfy your cravings.

No Dieting Required

Mindful eating enables you to focus on eating healthy food in the right amount. Ultimately, this leads to weight loss without the need for any special dieting programs.

Greater Control Over Weight

Mindful eating gives you control over stressful and emotional eating thus preventing excess calorie intake. Hence, your weight is under control.

Greater Health Management

The mindful eating approach can help cut down the risk of several diseases including: diabetes, eating disorders, heart disease, and digestive issues.

Applying Mindful Eating in Your Everyday Living

Adapting mindful eating in life can help accelerate greater weight loss and above all keep off further weight gain. The mindful approach is just not limited to focusing on goals. A core principle of mindfulness is actually the way you look at your food and exploring its various aspects such as the food’s texture, aroma, color, and taste.

Research reveals that there exists a complex relationship between your mind and stomach. Certain complex functions and hormones send signals from your stomach to your brain about your eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register how full you are. Eating very quickly can cause overeating which makes diet planning harder. Let us look into how the ABT diet technique can be followed practically.

1. Set Your Personal Goal

Weight loss goals do not always need to be superficial (i.e. ending with just fitting into tight clothes). It can be beyond that. Incorporate your weight loss regime into your true personality. For example, you may want to exercise in moderation for healthy weight loss to avoid aggravating your adrenal fatigue symptoms. Slimming down is all about enhancing the quality of your life rather than just appearance. Realizing your true life goals and aligning your mind with it ensures success.

2. Include Healthy Food Practices

Healthy food practices will make you feel more controlled and confident. Further, it can provide your body with daily nutritional requirement essential for adrenal healing. People with AFS tend of have salty and fatty food cravings. Consider replacing high salt and fatty foods with healthy alternatives such as Himalayan pink salt and olive oil. Practicing to refuse junk foods will make it easier to avoid them during those cravings. All you require is a little patience and practice to follow healthy food habits.

3. Discover Eating Pitfalls

mindful eating, food journaling, and healthy thoughtsMaintain a food journal and enter your full eating patterns including what you eat and when you eat. This will help you discover some eating drawbacks you never realized before. For example, you might consume energy drinks to fight extreme tiredness in AFS. Since these drinks have high caffeine content, which can cause caffeine overdose, you will crash eventually. You want to prepare nutritious food in advance. Feed yourself from time to time instead of depending on caffeinated drinks.

4. Have Your Meals Mindfully

Always ‘be present’ for your meals. Avoid eating in a hurry which results in over eating; your brain does not get the time to sense fullness. Timely meals help balance healthy blood sugar levels and thus prevent any spikes. Stay away from travel-friendly meals as they are high in sugar, fats, salt, and calories. Avoid watching TV and using smart phones while eating to make sure you eat with a presence of mind.

5. Experience Food

Experiencing your food is a vital part of mindful eating. Enjoy the color, texture, and aroma of the food before tasting it. Relish every bite and eat slowly to savor the flavors. Including these simple methods can make eating more enjoyable, induce calmness, and reduce stress – as well as prevent overeating.

6. Know When To Stop

Weight loss experts recommend to stop eating when your feel 80 – 90 percent full to prevent any over eating. You will gradually feel full after some time. Stopping after you first feel full also helps in weight loss.

Mindful Eating and Adrenal Fatigue

High work pressure, less sleep, being caffeine dependent, cell phone addiction and unhealthy foods have all taken a toll on our health. Many people worldwide fight extreme fatigue every day in life.

Experiencing frequent fatigue along with symptoms of insomnia, brain fog, difficulty waking up, stubborn weight gain, lack of energy, salty and fatty food craving, anxiety, lower concentration levels, and the inability to deal with stress can be signs of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). People with AFS have a weak body, tend to gain weight easily and crave for salty and fatty foods.

Controlling food cravings can be tough. In order to slim down, most people resort to various diet plans. It is important to note that excess dieting with restricted calories can aggravate adrenal fatigue worsening the symptoms. This is because, with AFS, your system needs good nutrition to repair and restore itself to normal functioning.

The NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response (NEM) in your body fights against excess stress. The NEM stress response is comprised of complex systems and six circuits which work in unison. During stress, your adrenal glands produce cortisol, or anti-stress hormones. However, continuous stress overburdens your adrenals gradually reducing its cortisol secretion capacity. Thus your body’s stress fighting capacity is also reduced.

Nutritious food helps to repair and heal your adrenals. Extreme dieting does not provide your body with the daily required nutrition and leads to adrenal exhaustion. Mindful eating within the ABT technique can be helpful in AFS.

With a conscious eating approach, you develop a deep connection with food resulting in a great eating experience. This produces a soothing effect on your mind thus alleviating stress. You develop a new approach to eating. Further, the mindfulness approach techniques help AFS individuals to control salty food cravings, lose more weight without side effects, and prevent any further weight gain.

Conclusion

Loose weight faster with mindful eatingThe mindfulness approach with emphasis on personal values, mindful decision making, and involving mindful eating helps to lose more weight. Scientists refer to this approach as acceptance based behavioral therapy or ABT. This, when combined with mindful exercise, can boost your slimming efforts resulting in greater weight loss.

Research reveals that setting your mind to lose weight in advance produces positive results. Though the fitness industry proposes diverse diet programs, they all come with considerable side effects. The ABT technique is considered most effective for weight loss.

ABT therapy addresses major problems including curbing food cravings and preventing further weight gain through healthy practices thus making it superior to other standard weight loss approaches. The mindful eating approach can alleviate AFS by helping to control fatty and salty food cravings, adopting healthy eating practices, and promoting healthy weight loss while preventing further weight gain.

 
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

People with AFS tend to have a weak body and overburdened adrenals. Hence, intense exercise and dieting should be avoided. They also have stubborn weight gain with salty and fatty food cravings making them more vulnerable to obesity. Mindful eating involves various techniques including healthy and conscious eating that helps to nourish and restore adrenals, deal with food cravings, help in healthy weight loss, and prevent further weight gain.


mindful eating