Eat Mindfully--and Lose Weight

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  • By Robin Westen

    Diets, medications, and surgeries all promise permanent weight loss. But the truth is even surgery isn’t a guarantee those unhealthy pounds will stay away. What will? Changing your mind and attitude. The latest weight research shows that just being conscious of what we’re eating will not only lead to smaller portions at meals but less stress snacking in between and a greater enjoyment of life in general. It’s certainly worth a try! Here are some suggestions:

    Make Every Mouthful Count

    When you’re eating think about the flavor, texture, even the sound of the food in your mouth. Imagine you’re writing an entry in a journal describing the various tastes.
  • Chew on It No one is suggesting you count your bites (how boring!), but shoveling in food is definitely discouraged. Pay attention to how well your food is broken down before swallowing.
  • Just Eat If you’re answering email or watching television while eating a sandwich, you’ll likely still be hungry when you’re done. Make meal time a relaxed affair when the only thing you’re doing is eating.
  • Forget Finger Foods You’ll eat slower and consume smaller portions if you use a knife and fork, especially if you lay utensils down in between each bite.
  • Dine at the Table Eating at the table, rather than standing at the counter or in front of the refrigerator (not to mention lying in bed), will help you think about what you’re doing. This also means no more on-the-go snacking.
  • Have an Artist's Eye Take time to prepare your food and appreciate how it looks. By adding aesthetics to eating, you’ll just naturally savor it more.
  • Be Easy on Yourself Every new habit takes time to be set in stone. Standard scientific wisdom says it takes between 21 to 28 days to form a habit. It also helps to choose one meal or snack each day and commit to focusing on mindful eating at that time.
  • Dine and Discuss One of the joys of eating is sharing a meal with a loved one. Try to focus some of the conversation on the meal, discussing flavor, presentation and textures.

    About the Author

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge's medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her latest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."