04 Jul Battle Obesity with Mindfulness
“I tried almost all diet plans that exist on the internet, still I am not able to lose weight.” “I spend long hours in the gym almost every day, but still I suffer from obesity.” “I don’t know what to eat, and how to eat to lose weight effectively.” If you are a person with any of the above problems then this article is for you.
There are more than 100 dietary theories existing all around the world to battle obesity. It is extremely difficult to find the right diet for you. Remember, each individual is biologically unique. One man’s food is another man’s poison. So, you cannot just follow a diet plan that was followed by your friends or others. You need to figure out by yourself what food is good for you. And, it can be done only when you thoroughly understand your physiology and how your body works when you eat a certain type of food.
The understanding of how your body works comes only when you listen to your body in the state of complete awareness. And, you can do that when you experience inner silence. Cultivating silence is an extremely difficult task in your busy life. However, practicing mindfulness can be a simple solution to overcome the crowded mind.
Mindfulness meditation is an effortless and simple technique. When you practice mindfulness and cultivate the inner silence, you can transform your lifestyle. The lifestyle transformation is more important than dieting/calorie restrictions to battle obesity. It is because the calorie restriction weight loss model did not show any significant changes in losing weight. It is considered to be a failure model. So, it is important to change the attitude towards choosing the right food for your body instead of calorie restriction. 1,2
Here I am going to share a four-step process to battle obesity through Mindfulness. (To learn the basic mindfulness technique, I would recommend you to check out “Aware” foundation program)
1. Mindful Grocery Shopping
- Try not to go shopping on an empty stomach. You may end up choosing the wrong food to eat. So, before going shopping, sit in a comfortable chair and just try to be aware of your body and how do you feel at that moment. If you feel hungry, try to have a healthy snack or a meal.
- Try to prepare a food list before going for grocery shopping. Make a list of food items you may require for preparing breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner for one week. In that way, you will not run out of food and reach for fast food or junk food during busy hours.
- Before entering the shop, try to sit in your car and take a few deep breaths. And slowly, close your eyes and try to see how do you feel at that moment. If you feel agitation or any discomfort due to driving, just clear your mind and experience the inner silence for a few minutes.
- When you go shopping, reach out to the section where you can find your listed food items and try to avoid going to the other sections. In that way, you can not only save money but also avoid buying unhealthy food. And also, try to avoid buying ready to use food items like burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, patties, and fruit juices because processed food contains bad fat (also called as trans fat) and high in corn fructose sugar which can increase your weight drastically.
- Before buying any food items, try to read the label. If the food contains highly processed sugar, white flour, and refined oil, then it is important to not to include that food in your diet.
2. Mindful Food Choice
Cooking at home is another way to lose weight effectively. Try to make a large portion of food, so that you can save it for another meal. In that way, you can save a lot of time. Try to include more green vegetables, non-starchy colored vegetables, and fruits into your diet. Include whole grains in your diet. Many people think eating whole wheat, brown bread is like eating whole grain. But it is not true. It is also considered as a highly processed food. Whole grains such as brown rice, red rice, black rice, quinoa, amaranth, and barley are some of the best options to include nutrition in your diet. High-quality organic meat, eggs, fish, legumes, pulses are a good choice for protein. Avocado, clarified butter, and nuts are a source of good fat. Seventy-two top research studies have found that fat show no link with Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) except trans fat. On the other hand, mounting research evidence reported that sugar found a significant link with CVD.3
3. Mindful Cooking
Before cooking, try to sit in a comfortable place and take a few deep breaths. And then, slowly close your eyes. Now, bring your awareness to the food that you are going to make. Try to be aware of the nutritional value of the food, how it’s going to benefit you and your family. Whenever you feel relaxed and comfortable, open your eyes. And then, mindfully wash the vegetables and grains. As you do that, observe how your hands are moving, how the water flows into the food and cleans it. Try to be aware and feel that it washes away all the toxins present in them. While cutting the vegetables and during the whole process of cooking, just try to see how your body moves, how you feel at that moment, and feel the aroma of the food mindfully.
4. Mindful Eating
When you try to eat your meal, or even drink a cup of coffee, try to sit on the chair and eat. When you sit down, you can calm down your mind and that helps you to focus on your food you eat. First, gently place the food on your plate. When you do that, try to observe your hand movement, the aroma of the food, how the food is placed on the plate. And then, slowly take the food to your mouth. Once you have placed the food in your mouth, keep the fork and spoon down. And, chew the food well and then observe how the food moves into your food pipe and then your stomach. When you eat mindfully, you will notice you will feel full before you even finish your plate.
Try to incorporate these four-step process in your daily life. And you can visibly see how your body transforms and loses that excess weight.
- Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(6):398-406.
- JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-524.
- JAMA 2012, 307(24): 2627-2634.