Friday, July 13, 2012

Mindful Eating


Sitting in a spa (love Vegas!) the other day recuperating from an excessive workout in a vain attempt to try an undue a week of vacation overeating, I found an article about mindful eating in an old issue of O Magazine.  It caught my attention immediately because my mother has been studying mindfulness meditation and stress reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn.  She now teaches and leads group meditations.  Side note:  some day I think it would be great to organize a retreat at my vacation property to include a weekend of raw food preparation (and eating), mindfulness meditation, morning yoga and hikes in the dunes and days spent at the beach or simply lounging about the farm.  Maybe next summer.  I wasn't able to find a copy of the article, but it sounds like there has been some recent research to support that mindfulness practices when focused on eating has helped people lose weight without increasing the focus on dieting.

That's really good news, considering that most research related to dieting these days has come to the conclusion that dieting doesn't really work for the long term, that the longer you carry excess weight, the more likely that you won't keep it off.  In fact, it's so unlikely that people can lose the weight and keep it off for the long term, that a national registry has been formed to track the tiny percent of long-term losers (I love that term, and aspire to be among them one day) to study them to find out if they're doing anything that others can mimic.  I had read one story of a long term loser where a woman describes herself as never not dieting.  She still continues to measure her food each day, write down everything that she consumes, workout for 1+ hours everyday, and never takes a break.  That sounds sad, but I suppose that really the ultimate lifestyle change.  I would happily do it, if I can only successfully get into it regularly in the first place.

Back to mindfulness... I am seldom relaxed enough to consider meditation.  Isn't that the greatest reason to consider it?  However, there are times that meditation just happens - mostly as I walk or jog along the lake.  Especially when walking, I don't listen to music and I always walk alone.  Because of my many aches and pains in my knees, feet, and hips, I am very conscious to keep my gait even, hips forward, shoulders down and back and tummy tucked in.  When my thoughts stray, so does my form and I find myself become sluggish almost instantly.  So I focus, a great deal, on all these little muscle groups.  It's just walking, you may say, why such effort.  I believe that is where the mindfulness comes in.  The longer I walk, the more essential it is to be mindful. 

To apply mindfulness to eating, it sounds brilliant, but obvious.  I've read that a mindfulness weight loss group would bring in all sorts of trigger food.  They would consider the properties of each food, like the grains of salt on a peanut, the oiliness, the texture.  Then they would taste it, eating slowly considering even more properties of the food.  Hmmm.  This is something I'd like to look into in greater depth. 

To read more, check out this article at IdeaFit.com

By the way, another session of The Garden Diet's 21-Day Cleanse begins on Monday.  I will be jumping back into it in earnest.  If you join up, you'll see me chatting away in the forum as I try to get back on track again.  It will be a little tricky as I'm going out of town again, but it will be a good time to practice making better choices on the road and while visiting with family and friends.  Wish me luck, or join in to cheer me on.  I'll do the same for you.

3 comments:

  1. I was just telling a friend the other day that I have this great meditation book but that I'm way too busy and stressed to read it. Ha! It pretty much just reaffirms that I need it in my life.

    I am starting the Garden Diet cleanse on Monday. I'll see you there! I'm SO nervous - I hope I'm successful. I NEED to be.

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  2. Hi Mary. I took a peek at your website... gorgeous, gorgeous photos. Thanks for dropping a line. I look forward to chatting you up during the 21 day cleanse. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you for the nice words. :) Just got back from the grocery store with everything I need for the first part of the week. I'm ready! (I think!)

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