"The food you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine… or the slowest form of poison." Ann Wigmore
Dieting is anything but easy. Not only do you have to watch what you eat, but most weight loss programs also require some degree of counting, measuring, or calculating. Losing weight becomes a tedious process that depletes the joy of eating. Wouldn't it be nice to just enjoy a meal without all the work? Actually, you can, and it may turn out to be a better way to diet. By using your mind and consciousness to eat healthy, you can make weight loss a simple task that's full of nutrition, pleasure, and results. Here's how:
Be Mindful of Consuming Whole Foods
Meditation can help you be a more mindful eater and help you maintain your weight as you become more mindful and intentional about what you eat, why you eat, and when you eat, you can create physical and emotional balance. Research has shown that most individuals generally aren’t paying attention to whether they’re actually hungry or full. Mindful based exercises can help heighten your awareness of such cues and keep your mind focused on the experience of eating while also making optimal food choices.
Research studies show a dramatic increase in obesity from the early 60’s:
“From 23% obesity in 1962, reaching 39.4% in 1997, 44.5% in 2004, 56.6% in 2007, and 63.8% (adults) and 17% (children) in 2008. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported higher numbers once more, counting 65.7% of American adults as overweight, and 17% of American children, and according to the CDC, 63% of teenage girls become overweight by age 11."
Unlike poor quality processed foods like sugars, dangerous trans fats, refined flours, wholesome foods contain no additives, preservatives, or other harmful ingredients. You can eliminate the side effects from processed foods like weight gain, sleep disturbances, mood swings, blood sugar imbalances, etc. When you focus on eating wholesome organic foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, unprocessed meats, grass fed beef, free range chicken, wild fish, etc. you are putting clean, healthy, and satisfying nourishment in your body. Your body and brain will flourish with wholesome nutrient-dense foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Your optimal diet is a personal lifestyle choice. What is optimal eating for you is highly individualized and based on food allergies/sensitivities, stage of life, cultural upbringing, ethical choices, likes/dislikes, support system, and your access to healthy food. You can create a foundation of how you choose your food and experiment on what is optimal for you. When you are mindful, you pay attention to your body telling you what foods make you feel good, feel bad, gives you energy, or takes away energy, etc. You can become a mindful consumer about the foods you buy and experiment and have fun preparing the abundant wholesome colorful foods that give you energy and yes, joy. It is a personal journey and a commitment to health. Please see "Eating | Weight Management" on our Research page.
Be Mindful of When You Eat
Research has shown that sticking to a regular eating schedule has many positive effects, from improved blood pressure to better digestion. People who eat at the same times every day also tend to make healthier food choices, making weight loss and weight maintenance more successful. It doesn't matter how many meals you choose to eat each day. Whether you prefer three meals or six mini-meals, routine eating can improve your waistline--and overall health.
Listen to Your Body and Brain
Knowing when to start and stop eating is essential for keeping your weight in check. The good news is your body and mind will tell you; all you need to do is listen. Many health experts advise eating when you're hungry to avoid binging, but only eating until you're 80 percent full. How do you know when you're there? Try consuming just half the food on your plate, then assess whether you feel satiated. Often your brain needs time to alert your body that you've had enough.
Reconsider Your Cravings
Are you really in the mood for that sweet treat or heavily salted snack? While it may be something that brought you pleasure in the past, healthier foods can do the same thing--without the negative consequences. For example, substitute a square of natural organic dark chocolate for a less nutritious highly processed candy bar with tons of high fructose corn syrup and a piece of delicious fresh low glycemic fruits like strawberries or blueberries. Putting healthy treats in your body will please your conscience and your taste buds and help maintain your weight.
Try Mindful Wholesome Eating
If you're tired of typical diet plans that involve a lot of work, you're not alone. Try Mindful Wholesome Eating instead, and see why using your mind to achieve a healthy weight may be a simpler, healthier and a more enjoyable option.
- Hippocrates, c460-c370 BC is considered the father of medicine who was a Greek physician and is one of the most outstanding figures in history said:
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
AnJenette Afridi, MA, ERYT-500, is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine, Mindful-Based Strategies, and Creator of INHALE EXHALE SMILE℠ Meditation and Mindfulness Targeted Skills-Based Training. AnJenette is a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and a Meditation and Mindfulness Master Teacher with 30+ years in private practice. “AJ’s” professional credentials include a Master’s Degree in Psychology (MA) 1997, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500) 2002, American Psychological Association (APA) Member 1996, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Member, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine Member, and Harvard Medical School CEU’s in Lifestyle Medicine and Mind Body Medicine (Herbert Benson, MD) the last 15 years.
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AnJenette aka AJ has worked with corporations, hospitals, health centers, schools, and private clientele including adults and children. She is often featured at public and private in-person and online events, and she hosts events as well. AJ's warmth, credibility, and energetic sense of humor create an atmosphere that supports expansion, creativity, and abundant possibility.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.