Can You Lose Weight with Mindful Eating – and Does It Matter?

By Michelle May, M.D.

lewis2006Last month, I answered one of the questions I’m frequently asked: What do YOU eat? This month, I’m answering an even more common question: “Can you lose weight with mindful eating?” With New Year’s Resolutions ahead of us, many people are about to enter the “repent” phase of the eat-repent-repeat cycle so it is a legitimate question.

Without a doubt, the answer is YES (as Lewis’ story so beautifully illustrates). We don’t talk about that very often because we don’t want to be associated with the diet industry that promotes restriction, deprivation, and guilt. Most diets quick fixes but deliver short-term results. Believe me; I’ve been there.

When we started eleven years ago, we called the program “Changing Weighs.” Over the years, we repeatedly saw that the changes our participants experienced were far more significant than just what they weighed. Just as I had, so many were finally able to end years of struggling with yo-yo dieting, what I now call the eat-repent-repeat cycle.

We eventually changed our name to Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Programs to reflect the power that awareness has on the individual’s ability to become an expert in meeting their true needs – food and otherwise. But whether the numbers change or not, their life does, and that’s what matters most.

But that begs the question: Can you lose weight with mindful eating? Yes, and I’ve summarized how that might happen below, but I think you’ll want to read the lewis2010decpersonal stories of people who’ve experienced even more significant changes: body, mind, heart, and spirit.

How can mindful eating help you lose weight?

  1. Depriving yourself of the foods you love eventually leads to overeating. Learning to eat fearlessly takes the power away from certain foods and is one of eight keys to breaking your eat-repent-repeat cycle.
  2. You don’t gain weight because you eat what you love. You gain weight when you consume more than your body needs by eating when you’re not hungry and/or continuing to eat after you’ve had enough. Relearning to identify and trust your body wisdom is essential.
  3. Loving what you eat, in other words, eating mindfully with intention and attention is another critical skill. Further, mindfulness has benefits far beyond anything that can be measured on a scale.
  4. Eating what you love opens the door to doing what you love. As you stop restricting yourself, you’ll stop punishing yourself with exercise. It becomes possible-even necessary-to discover joyful, pleasurable physical activity that supports your mood, health, and energy.

Read the personal stories of others who have experienced the powerful changes for themselves. Then, consider setting a NEW New Year’s resolution for a change and find an Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshop near you.

Lewis’s Story: Overcoming Obstacles

Diagnosed with severe heart disease, suffering from chronic pain, and at over a hundred pounds above his athletic weight, Lewis’s situation seemed hopeless. He’s lost 113 pounds and says, “Am I Hungry? is ‘a getting healthy program.’ The byproduct just happens to be losing weight.” Read Lewis’ story or read other Personal Stories.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin
« « Previous - A Foodie’s Guide to Holiday Eating | Next - Habits Recreate the Past again, and again, and again… » »