Mindful Eating for Weight Loss
After your weight loss surgery, it is important that you are paying close attention to your diet and what you are consuming. Your bariatric surgery will limit the amount of food you can consume, but it is up to you to make positive choices not only when it comes to your food, but when it comes to your eating habits as well. One way of doing this is by incorporating mindful eating into your daily eating habits.
What is Mindful Eating?
Often time, when we eat, we tend to do so without paying much attention. This can lead to unnecessary snacking, or filling up on empty calories through snacking. This could be harmful following your weight loss surgery since your stomach can now only hold a limited amount. If you eat without intent or without paying attention, you could fill up quickly and miss out on the essential nutrients and foods you need to optimize your weight loss and wellness results.
Mindful eating is a way of eating that involves paying full attention to the experience of eating with intention and purpose. Mindful eating seeks to bring an awareness of your eating habits and actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations. When you eat mindfully you are paying attention to all aspects of your food: textures, smells, colors, flavors and sounds. You should be doing this without distraction and with a focus on the experience of your body (where you feel hunger, where you feel satisfied, etc.).
You can eat mindfully by:
- Stop multitasking. If you are watching television or talking on the phone during mealtime, you are less likely to pay attention to what you are eating. Turn off any distractions before it is time for you to eat.
- Only eat at the table. Sit down and enjoy your meal at the table. If you stand while you’re eating, you are less likely to feel full. If you are sitting down at the table, you can pay full attention and truly enjoy your meal.
- Appreciate your plate. Before you begin to eat, take the time to look at your plate and appreciate the meal you have in front of you.
- Focus on the mouthfuls. As you take each bite, take your time to taste each flavor, feel each texture and focus on how much you like or dislike the sensations.
- Chew slowly. This is a good habit to practice especially after weight loss surgery. Chew slowly, this will allow you to fully enjoy and appreciate the food you are eating.
- Put your fork down. In between bites, set your fork down. Take this time to enjoy your beverage or have a conversation with someone else at the table. This will prevent you from scarfing your meal down and allow you more time to appreciate it.
- Quality vs. quantity. Choose foods that are rich in quality and flavor rather than larger portions of a lesser food.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating will help you to truly focus on your food and how you eat. This is important for your weight loss journey since you want your new diet should be well-balanced but in smaller portions. Some of the benefits of mindful eating also include:
- Aids weight management
- Increases enjoyment of food
- Decreases risk of overeating
- Satisfies you with less
Through the practice of mindful eating, you can further improve your relationship with food following your weight loss surgery. You will also be able to better determine when you are satisfied, full or hungry. This is important following your weight loss surgery and will optimize your weight loss goals.