Weight Loss MAP to Freedom

What Does Mindfulness have to do with Losing Weight?

Being mindful, paradoxically, is more likely when you are dieting or on a cleanse, as you pay more attention to how your body feels and the food you are eating than when you’re not on a diet.  When dieting, you might notice you’re feeling jittery, hyped, hungry, or tired. You might notice the pre-packaged food is tasty or tasteless, salty or needs some, filling or not. You might notice how food smells more now and find you can’t eat it. You might notice how often you think to grab for a handful of something now that you are on a 3 meal a day plan. You notice the hunger.

Noticing  what is occurring as it occurs is the hallmark of a  mindful approach to anything, including eating.

When you go off the diet and back to your normal routines you no longer notice these things.  They vanish from your thoughts because you stopped paying attention to aspects of eating such as taste, texture and smell, bodily sensations of hunger or fullness, enjoyment that can only come with experiencing the food at the time you are eating it gets lost when done without noticing the food in your mouth, not to mention the portions of what you just ate.

Have you ever eaten a bag of chips or cookies only to not realize you were eating until the bag was empty? Most of us have. More than once.  This is referred to as mindless eating.

Keep in mind that being mindful means paying attention to your senses and food and body sensations as you eat, as well as when you shop for and prepare your food,  eat out or socially, and how you feel during and after you have eaten.

Being in a state of mindfulness before eating will inform your busy mind that you are in fact eating, what size portion you are hungry for, and how it tastes and how much you’re consuming as you go along. You’ll have the open space in your mind to notice when you are feeling fuller or full.

It takes 20 minutes, a long time,  in our instant gratification society, for the hormones in your brain and stomach to communicate that you are full. When you slow down along with paying attention, miracles happen on their own. Translation, you eat less and enjoy it more.

Paying attention is the point of power between being in control of food and eating, and food and eating being in control of you. What you are aware of is where you have power and therefore can exert control. You have none at all otherwise.

Enjoy your life today!


Kimberly Wulfert, PhD is the creator of the Weight Loss MAP to Freedom mentoring program for women who want to lose weight to keep it off for life without dieting, pills or surgery.

*Photo courtesy of  © Yevgenromanenko | Depositphotos.com

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Kelly Iblings on 05/29/2014 6:23 PM Reply

This is great…and so true. It is so hard to break habits that rule your everyday life. Freedom from addiction would be a dream come true for me. Any tips on staying in that awareness mode on a daily basis?

Kimberly Wulfert, PhD on 05/29/2014 7:16 PM Reply

I’m so glad you see the point I’m coming from- freedom from habits and addictions to food and eating is the freedom. To stay aware on a daily basis is the key. We all need to be more aware of everything on a daily basis as we live in this rushed demanding but beautiful and giving world around us.

If you set your phone alarm to go off each hour, it can be a reminder to do a simple awareness exercise. There are many, but an easy one is to stop what you are doing, and bring your attention to your breath, counting 4-6 seconds in, hold 2-3 and count 4-6 seconds out.The count depends on what’s comfortable for you. The key is to make the counts equal on the in and out breath. Do 8 breaths this way, focusing on your breathing. It might help to put your hand on your chest or abdomen to feel the rise and fall as you have the inner focus.

This simple exercise will bring you into the present time and balance your autonomic nervous system. Then you’re good to go from a place of awareness and calm. Let me know how it goes!

Judy B on 05/31/2014 8:34 PM Reply

I’ve been thinking about mindful eating though not yet consciously practicing it. We went to Bisbee last week and had dinner on the porch of the Copper Queen Hotel which is well over 100 years old. Between the pleasant temperature and that wonderful sense of history old buildings bring I realized I really was eating mindfully. The single glass of wine and my half portion of prime rib was delicious and I ate it slowly. Afterwards I felt pleasantly full and had no desire for more wine. Now if I could just eat like that all the time. :)

Kimberly Wulfert, PhD on 06/01/2014 3:32 PM Reply

You’re so right Judy. Vacation eating is a perfect example for everyone to realize they have eaten mindfully some time in their life. Why is this? Because we are paying attention to everything that’s in front of us and around us because it’s new and different. Our brain loves novelty when we are in a safe environment. Our senses are naturally heightened by it. The good news is, we don’t have to be on vacation to heightened our senses when eating, because food is always a little differently prepared or ripened or seasoned so that each bite can be a new sensation for our taste, smell, eyes, texture in our mouth and our body as a whole. Paying attention with intention as you eat is mindfully eating.