The Mindful Diet: How To Lose Weight By Changing Your Thoughts
Food is about so much more than just nutrition. It's about friends and memories and love and life. It's an experience to be savored, which is why it's so hard for so many people to diet. I mean really, why would you ever want to give up all of that pleasure for just for a few pounds? The answer is you don’t.
If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, if you really want to live a healthier life and be happy doing it, then you have to do more than just cut calories. You have to change your relationship with food.
When you do that, you'll find that you not only lose weight and clear out the toxins, but you'll transform your life in a way that's both lightening and enlightening.
Think of food as a reflection of your life. How you eat is tied to how you feel and how you feel is tied to how you eat.
When you remove the toxins from your diet, you'll start to remove the toxins from the rest of your life, too. You'll see poisonous people drop away just like the inches around your waist. First make sure there isn’t another metabolic issue or medical problem also getting in the way.
You'll notice the relationships that have weighed you down and the job that's stressed you out will peel away. You'll find that your diet is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Instead it's a lifestyle that you can step into one bite at a time. You can also take a pause or even stop whenever you want to. Because it's your life and you're running the show.
In a way, you can look at the mindful diet as a meditation. While meditation uses your breath as a place of focus, the mindful diet uses food as a way to become aware of the distractions that are undermining your body and your happiness. Which is why we hate to call it a diet. In reality, it's more like a lifestyle to enjoy.
When I adopted a mindful approach to eating, I not only dropped to a 15% body fat, but I lost the mental and spiritual heft that was holding me back from living a more passionate, more active, more fulfilled life—all without having to give up the occasional burger or weekend beer that I so enjoyed. This also reduces stress, which will drop water weight.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. Dip a toe in the water and see how it feels. You'll be surprised by how much you'll want to dive in and transform your life one bite at a time:
1. Before you even order your meal, take a moment to think about what you feel like eating.
Be aware of the why behind your cravings. Notice your emotions. You can easily ignore them as you dive into that bowl of ice-cream or bite into that delicious, juicy burger, but soon enough you'll start connecting what you eat with how you feel. You may even find yourself saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Not that it's about being model-skinny. It is not. It's about fitting into the body you were given, so that you can be proud of yourself in a size 6, a size 12, or a size 18.
2. Completely love your food.
Food is an experience. It's so much more than what you put into your mouth. It's about the setting, the service, the scents, and even the gratitude you both give and receive with every meal. So take time to enjoy your food with all five senses. Take a moment during your meal to smell, to touch, to look around and to listen. Pause to enjoy your meal on every level. It will make your meal a richer, deeper, more passionate experience on every level.
3. Pay attention to your breath as you eat.
When you slow down, you open up. You become more aware of your body and how it responds to the food you're experiencing. So pause mid-bite and place your attention on your breath as you eat. Let the panic and stress go. If you feel overwhelmed in the middle of a meal, stop and breathe slowly and deeply. Be aware of your stomach as it expands and contracts.
4. Go easy on the white stuff.
No matter how spiritual you may feel, your body is still a slave to the survival impulses that have kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years. Know that your body is incredibly good at processing sugar. (And yes carbohydrates are basically sugar.) So while you don't need to cut them out completely, just be aware that the pleasure you get from eating pasta and pizza is partly due to your body getting a blast of sugar, as well as the store of fat that your body knows is coming its way.
So think before you eat. White sugar, white flour, white rice? They taste great and provide comfort; they also provide pounds of stored energy—better known as fat. Cut those out of your diet and you'll find the fastest and easiest way to create a new you based on your own healthy mindset.