If you, like many others, have set a new years resolution to lose weight, there is a good chance that by now you have already given up. And no wonder! Diets can be depriving and can’t be sustained over a lifetime. They can cause a decrease in your metabolism, a preoccupation with food and a sense of failure. Why don’t you do something different this year? Start a new lifestyle rejecting the diet mentality and instead utilizing Mindful or Intuitive Eating. The basic principle of Mindful Eating is that we are all born with an internal mechanism that lets us know when we are hungry or full. Unfortunately, after years of being told to clean our plate, eat by the clock, and choose this food as advertised, our intuitive eating behaviors become suppressed. It may be challenging to modify your current dieting rules, but a new, healthier lifestyle will probably last much longer. Imagine a new year without guilt and totally tuned into your natural body signals!
So how can you develop a healthier lifestyle without dieting? Here are a few principles to consider.
- Do you dislike your body shape? You can be healthy at any size. Embrace the body you were intended to have. Focus on having a healthy body from the inside out, instead of being a certain size or weight.
- Can you recognize your body’s hunger and fullness signals? Pay attention to what your body is telling you. When you feel that you are about 80% full, stop eating. Eat slowly so you can recognize your body cues and analyze if you are truly still physically hungry. Focus on enjoying the aesthetics of every bite of food—the taste, temperature, texture, color and smell.
- Do you allow yourself to eat when you are hungry? Keeping your body fed in smaller more frequent meals will help you eat in moderation. There is no magic number of meals required per day. Choose moderate portion sizes. Don’t allow yourself to become excessively hungry, because you will experience a natural drive to overeat.
- Do you eat to feel better? Using food for emotional comfort is not the answer. Being active can make you feel better and helps burn the energy/calories from foods you have eaten. Could you start off by just walking 2 minutes a day?
- Do you think you are a bad person because you consume a certain food or beverage? Get rid of the food police mentality. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and time to adjust to a healthier way of living. No one is a perfect eater. All foods should be able to be worked into your food choices, as long as you are mindful when eating them.
Let’s see if making peace with food and being mindful of your own body signals works for you! The good thing is that if you need assistance or more information, you can contact me–Linda Farr, RD/LD. I can provide you with personalized guidance throughout your progress to a healthier way of living!
Tribole, Evelyn, and Resch, Elyse. Intuitive Eating: a Revolutionary Program that Works. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003. Print. http://www.evelyntribole.com
The Center for Mindful Eating: The Principles of Mindful Eating. http://www.tcme.org/principles.htm