A new year has begun in a hurry, and for many of us it also brings the opportunity to reflect on our lives, re-prioritise what is important to us, and set new goals for the year ahead. It is not surprising that the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Unfortunately, with that, comes the mass of misinformation about dieting and weight loss. You may have noticed your email inbox and Facebook feed infiltrated by messages on “The Best Diet for Weight Loss”, “Your 7 Day Kickstart Plan”, or “500 Calorie Dinner Recipes”. Unfortunately, what isn’t mentioned is that diets rarely work!!
Most people have tried to lose weight, often many times over many years, trying different diets and exercise plans, with varying levels of success or failure. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Very few people who diet are able to keep that weight off, and research has confirmed this. It is estimated that 95% of dieters put their weight back on over a few years, and many will regain more. Dieting can even lead to disordered eating and mental health struggles.
When we diet, or attempt to restrict our food intake based on how food will affect our weight, it sets us up for a vicious cycle of deprivation, rebellion, overeating, and eating for comfort. When we diet, we are potentially creating an enormous mess for ourselves and our physical and emotional wellbeing.
If this resonates with you, your challenge is not to succumb to another year of dieting in an attempt to lose weight and perpetuate this unhealthy pattern. For long term health and wellbeing, it is necessary to break this vicious cycle of dieting. Mindful eating gives us an opportunity to break this unhealthy pattern and create a healthier relationship with food.
There are 3 core components to mindful eating.
- Giving yourself permission to eat
Food is an important part of our health and wellbeing. It is an essential fuel for our amazing bodies which enables us to embrace our life and pursue our dreams. It amazes me that the “dieting mentality” that society, the media, and our social media platforms constantly tell us that we should be restricting what we eat!! How are we going to fulfil our potential as amazing human beings if we don’t fuel our body?
- Relying on internal hunger and satiety cues, rather than external cues
Hunger is a normal and natural physical response. It is our body reminding us that we need fuel to function. Hunger is not something to be sought in an attempt to lose weight or something to be celebrated. Mindful eating encourages us to listen to our body and eat according to our appetite. When we are in touch with our physical needs it helps us avoid deprivation (or starvation!) as well as reducing overeating.
- Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons
Of course, there are many reasons other than hunger that lead us to eat. The dieting cycle highlights emotional eating and comfort eating as some external cues, but there are many others. Mindful eating encourages us to break this cycle by helping us break that habitual, repetitive way of reacting to these triggers and cues. It allows us to cultivate a sense of space between a trigger or cue and our response, giving us the opportunity to make a conscious choice.
So this year, will you choose another diet that you hope will be the one that finally works for you? Or are you willing to embrace a healthier relationship with food and the freedom of letting go of that vicious cycle of dieting that is negatively impacting on your physical and emotional health and wellbeing?
If you would like more information on mindful eating, or how it may be of benefit to you, please contact me. You can find my contact details and how to book an appointment on our website at www.zestinfusion.com.au. You will also find information on our website about our popular Mindful Eating Workshop series.
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