If you’re new to this list, you may wonder what mindfulness and many other topics I write about have to do with weight loss. The short answer? Everything!
I can explain.
If you want to lose weight you need to do so within the context of your life. Focusing on your diet to the exclusion of the rest of your life could lead to short term results. In order to be successful with weight loss and maintenance, all the pieces will need to fit and work together.
For example, what you do to have fun, or why you’re not having fun, is just as important as what or how much you eat. Weight management is complex. The universal advice to just eat less and move more might work theoretically. Practically, it doesn’t work so well for most human beings that have emotions, stressors and a vault of memories and experiences that influence behaviors and ways of being.
When questioned, clients often tell me that weight gain or relapse occurred following a period of stress and upheaval.
Mindfulness is really important when it comes to eating habits. (I understand that for some of you, bringing attention to your eating is often the last thing you want to do.)
• Does your hand reach out automatically to food in the presence of it?
• Are you conscious of the food rules you’ve imposed upon yourself?
• Are you aware of negative self-talk as you eat something you feel you shouldn’t?
• Do you really taste your favorite food beyond the first two bites?
• Are you paying attention to how satisfied or full you feel?
• Are you aware of physical hunger versus emotional hunger?
How mindfulness applies to all aspects of life
Without mindfulness we could be storing lettuce in the freezer like I wrote about last week. The source of our mindlessness, be it overwhelm, avoidance or other factors, could be influencing our satisfaction with life and consequently our weight.
As you forge ahead in this New Year you might be thinking about losing weight and getting healthier. I support that. Consider being more mindful of what’s going on in your whole life and what is or isn’t working. It’s just about paying attention. For example, what is stressing you out? What do you need to do? What healthy coping strategies can you bring forward? These actions might change your circumstances, how you feel, as well as help you reign in your eating if it needs to be reigned in.
While being smaller will make you feel good, your size and feelings might not be sustained without the life to support it, i.e.: physical, occupational, relational, emotional, spiritual and financial wellbeing. And a happy, healthy life promotes a healthy weight. It’s all connected. That, my dear readers, is why I focus on, and write about, the many aspects of wellness.
I know. Sometimes you just want to be told what to eat or not to eat – a diet. Trust me. A balanced, wellness approach will serve you better in the long run.
Be present and notice your thoughts, feelings and habits. Build self-awareness and self-acceptance. One mindful step after another towards weight loss and wellness will get you where you want to go.