Canton Medical Clinic

Mindful Eating and how it can help you

Mindful eating is a specific technique of food consumption that allows you to take control of your eating habits. It has been shown to promote fat loss and in controlling binge eating. Mindful eating can also help you feel better.

In this month’s blog post, we are going to explain the basics and benefits of mindful eating and how you can take advantage of this technique. 

So what is Mindful Eating?

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist concept. It can be defined as a form of meditation that helps one recognize and cope with one’s feelings, emotions and physical sensations that occur during a certain period of time while performing tasks.

Mindfulness can be used to treat many conditions including depression, anxiety and various food-related behaviors.

Related to eating, it is about using the mindfulness technique to reach a state of attention that you experience while consuming food such as cravings and physical cues. 

In its essence Mindfulness Eating is:

  • Having an appreciation for the food that you eat
  • Noticing the subtle effects certain food has on your feelings
  • Eating just enough to maintain health and vitality
  • Learning strategies to cope with anxiety about food choices
  • Listening to your body’s cues to physical hunger 
  • Engaging your subtle senses by noticing the color, smell and textures of different flavors

Why should one practice Mindful Eating?

With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we are faced with unlimited food choices and most of them are fast foods. 

The concept of fast food revolves around consuming food that is available quickly, tastes great and is consumed quickly too. But this leads to us consuming empty calories without giving any thought to how those calories are going to affect our physical well-being.

Fast food is almost always consumed mindlessly and to top it off, permanent distractions such as smartphones, TV and computer screens have shifted attention away from the act of eating. This can lead to problems as it takes the human body a full 20 minutes to realize that it is full and does not need to eat more. If you are eating fast the signal to your brain that you have eaten enough may not arrive until you have eaten too much, hence the binge eating.

By practicing mindful eating you can restore your attention and slow this process down making eating an act that is intentional instead of an automatic act.

You can also increase your awareness of specific triggers that make you want to consume food even though your body may not be hungry. By increasing and understanding your body’s actual hunger and fullness you will be able to distinguish between the triggered hunger and actual physical hunger.

By gradually understanding those triggers you will be able to manage them through positive responses which will give you the freedom to act on those triggers.

How can Mindful Eating Promote Weight Loss?

A well-known fact about rapid weight loss is that 80% of the people with obesity who lose weight will have some kind of relapse and will gain that weight again.

The reason is very simple. Eating habits such as eating in response to food cravings, binge eating, and emotional eating have been linked to weight regain after successful weight loss.

Studies have shown that mindful eating helps you lose weight by actually changing your attitude toward food consumption and reducing stress. Changing the way we think about food can help us deal with the negative feelings that may be associated with eating and helps us replace them with better self-control and positive emotions.

Once the unwanted attitudes toward food consumption are addressed and resolved you can increase your chances of sustainable weight loss.

Specialists at Canton Medical Clinic can help you in designing customized programs for sustainable weight loss which are proven and time-tested. Click here to make an appointment today.

Nida Latif, MD

Dr. Latif is a co-founder of Canton Medical Clinic. She is a graduate of The Aga Khan University Medical College and has been practicing medicine since 2004. Dr. Latif completed her Family Practice residency from a Michigan State University campus and is board certified in Family Medicine. She has always been passionate about prevention and “lifestyle” medicine. For this reason, she pursued and board-certified in Obesity Medicine in 2018. She also performs wet cupping therapy (Hijama) on women and children.