It’s that time of year again when many thousands have vowed this year will be the year they stick to their diets and lose weight.
Some will last a few months. Others only a few days. Or perhaps they forgot they were on a diet as soon as they got back to work and were faced with piles of leftover party foods brought in by their ever so helpful co-workers.
Losing weight cannot be done by sheer willpower and constant deprivation. These tactics are what cause most diets to fail. There is a better way.
The next time you’re longing for that sweet treat, instead of battling with yourself, come to a compromise.
Are you craving ice cream? Take out a tablespoon and spoon out only as much as you can fit into your mouth in one shot. But don’t just hork it down! If you’re to be satisfied with this small portion and resume your diet without guilt, you must be mindful about eating that morsel.
What is Mindful Eating?
To be mindful is to be present with your senses. You will employ as many senses as you can to experience that small treat so your mind and your body fully notice you are about to eat it, are eating it and have fully eaten it.
This experience is nonexistent most of the time, which is why we over eat in the first place. So feel free to use this technique no matter what you are eating. You’ll notice when you are full much more quickly and feel satisfied sooner and more often.
Both will help you reduce how many calories you consume in a day.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the first bite of any food tastes the best. After that, no matter how much more you eat, it isn’t quite as satisfying. You might even reach a point of hardly tasting the food at all.
This is normal sensory overload, but it’s another great reason why you need to be extra mindful with that very first bite. Especially if it’s to be your only bite!
The technique will vary slightly depending on the food that’s being eaten, so use the steps that make the most sense for the naughty treat you’re about to eat.
Before you put the food in your mouth, take a good look at it. Notice it’s colors. Notice it’s shape. Does it have nooks and crannies or is it smooth? Witness as much detail as you can.
Taste is mostly smell. So take a deep long inhale and notice how your food smells. What do you notice? Are you starting to salivate in preparation of eating?
What does the food feel like? Is it rough or smooth? Is it dry or wet? Is it oily? Is it hot, cold or room temperature? Simply notice.
Now slowly bring the food to your lips but don’t put it into your mouth yet. How does the food feel against your lips? Is it the same sensation you had with your hands or different?
Once you place the food into your mouth, allow it to rest on your tongue without chewing. What flavors do you notice? How does the food feel against your tongue?
If you notice your taste buds overloading so you no longer taste the food, move the food around a bit in your mouth until you taste flavors again. Do you notice different flavors as you move the food around?
If the food requires chewing before it can be swallowed, slowly roll the food over to your teeth and notice what you feel and taste as you begin to chew.
What do you hear as you chew your food? Is your food crunching?
See how many times you can chew before swallowing.
Digestion starts in the mouth. By taking your time and chewing your food well, you’ll better digest and make use of the food you ate.
Now that the food is gone out of your mouth, what tastes linger behind? Are any bits of food left behind as well?
Done right, you might take as long to experience this one bit of food as you would have taken to eat a whole serving (or perhaps several servings).
Hopefully, you will find you are completely satisfied and your craving is fulfilled by the time you are done.
Now you can resume your diet without feeling you’ve blown it, because you didn’t overeat hundreds or thousands of calories like you would have otherwise.
There is nothing to feel guilty about.
Use this tactic and you will find weight loss is much easier, and perhaps faster, than you ever experienced in the past.