If you could do just one thing to lose weight and keep it off, would you do it?
What if I told you that you wouldn’t have to give up carbs? Or sugar! You wouldn’t have to follow a diet, or count calories, or even exercise daily. No special equipment, no all-you-can-eat-is-grapefruit games.
One thing. Just one. All you have to do is eat with awareness.
Because awareness is the single most important factor in losing weight and keeping it off.
Too simple? Too easy? Simple, yes, but maybe not so easy. Eating with awareness takes both work and commitment. Think about it…
How many people do you know who really pay attention to their food when they eat? Put another way, how many people do you know who skip breakfast, multi-task their way through lunch at work, and can’t bear to turn off the TV – or the cell phone – during dinner? Is that you?
Food. Meals. Nourishing ourselves… these used to command much more work, time, and respect. Without the struggle to hunt it, grow it, and for some of us, even buy it, we’ve lost respect for it. And perhaps, because it’s so unimportant, we’ve convinced ourselves that if we eat fast enough, or eat standing up, or consume something in the time it takes to get from the kitchen to the sofa, it doesn’t really count. That ¾ of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? Pffft! If you ate it over the sink while cleaning up after dinner, it doesn’t really count. You barely tasted it.
Why would you eat any ice cream if you weren’t going to taste it?
What do you think might happen if you were to eat whatever you want, but only if you sit down and do nothing else while you’re eating? I’ll bet these things would happen:
1. You’d really taste your food. That means you’d really enjoy certain foods more than you have in the past. And you might notice that there are other foods you don’t like half as much as you thought you did, so you might not eat as much, or you might give them up altogether.
2. You’d make choices between eating and doing something else. If you really believe you’re too busy to take the time to just eat, you might notice that you really weren’t as hungry as you thought.
3. You’d find that sometimes, just eating is just boring; so boring, in fact, that you stop! Because why eat if you aren’t hungry?
4. You’d notice your body telling you, “I’ve had enough, thanks!” And that’s before you’ve eaten too much. People are overweight because they eat more than their bodies need. Often, because they miss the signal from their body. Serious discomfort at the end of a meal, Tums, antacids, PPIs… you probably wouldn’t need those anymore.
5. You’d have fewer cravings… maybe even NO cravings! When you really taste your food, you experience a higher level of satisfaction from eating it. When you don’t pay attention, you can scarf down a whole bag of candy and still be unsatisfied because you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating. When you eat with awareness – when you savor each mouthful – one small brownie may satisfy your sweet tooth and quiet your craving.
6. You’d be more aware of how certain foods make you feel. Why do you sometimes feel sleepy in the afternoon? Hungry within two hours of lunch? Yucky after breakfast? If you pay attention, you’ll have a better idea of how a food feels in your body, and be more likely to notice the ones that may be troublesome for your particular metabolism.
7. You may lose weight! When you pay attention to your food, you will inevitably eat less, which means you will lose weight. I’d bet on it.
Are you ready to give eating with awareness a try? Come on. What have you got to lose?
You’re so right! No more watching TV while eating! Sometimes a meal with yourself can be a treat too!