Dietitian Confessions: Why Mindful Eating Works for Weight Loss

Dietitian Confession: I am a Dietitian and I was able to lose weight through Mindful Eating. I finally easily lost weight and was able to keep it off. Here is why mindful eating worked for me.

Mindful Eating Works Because Mindful Eating is About Enjoying your Food

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Before understanding mindful eating, it helps to understand mindLESS eating.

MindLESS Eating

One of my clients realized mindLESS eating was one of his major barriers. His story helps explain mindLESS eating. During a nutrition counseling session, one of my clients revealed that while he was walking past a coworker’s desk, he took a chip off of her desk and ate it without asking. The coworker jokingly said, “Hey! Don’t eat my lunch!” His response was eye opening for him. Do you know what he said? “Did I just take that chip? I didn’t even know I did it!” He began to realize how often he mindlessly ate without even thinking, and how this affected his weight. Did he even enjoy that chip? No, he didn’t even know he had eaten it!  He is not alone; many of us do it. I say when you consume calories; you might as well enjoy them right? This is one reason why mindful eating works.

Mindful eating is about ENJOYING your food!

eat photo
Photo by Joshua Rappeneker

Mindful Eating Helps with Weight Maintenance

Mindful eating has been helpful not only with weight loss, but also with weight maintenance, not only for clients but for me as well. Although mindful eating might be a new concept for many, dietitians have been using at least some aspects of mindful eating with their clients for years, and some have found mindful eating so successful that they almost exclusively focus on mindful eating and hunger cues to help with weight loss.

Mindful Eating Helped ME Lose Weight

I am one of those dietitians who has always used mindful eating in combination with other weight loss strategies. Because I noticed that Mindful Eating was one of my most successful strategies, I began leaning more heavily on Mindful Eating techniques. In some of my other post, I have talked about my weight loss struggles. (See more about my weight loss struggle here)

I have lost weight and kept it off successfully for years. Like many others, as the circumsances of my life changed, I would find myself needing to lose extra weight again.  I first lost weight in middle school. This is the reason I decided to go into dietetics. I kept the weight off all through high school and college, but I found myself gaining weight as a newlywed.

As soon as I realized that I was carrying too much extra weight, I did my own self assessment and developed my own plan. In other words, I became my own client.  I naturally gained weight after having babies. By that time, my lifestyle had changed, and I needed to re-assess my diet and develop a plan that would work for a new mom. I lost my excess baby weight by, again, becoming my own client and developing my own plan. If you would like to do a free self-assessment and develop your own plan click here.

eating photo
Photo by Sole Treadmill

 Less Need for Willpower

After my last baby, I needed an easier way to keep the weight off. I could lose weight with willpower, but what am I going to do when the willpower wares away like it always does? (I often tell my clients that my nutrition degree didn’t take away my love for food) After seeing the research and success of mindful eating, I decided to almost exclusively use Mindful Eating with only a few other techniques to help me with my weight loss barriers. I lost 55 pounds, and it was the easiest 55 pounds I have ever lost!

With Mindful Eating, No Food is Forbidden

With Mindful Eating, I never feel deprived. I rarely feel the need to cheat because I am ALWAYS giving myself permission to enjoy eating. I’m not at war with food anymore. I messed up less and feel guilty less often because with Mindful Eating, no food is forbidden. I also rarely “mess up” because I experience pleasure with food all the time. If I do mess up, it isn’t “over the top”  anymore. In other words, I rarely “fall off the wagon” and stuff my face until I am painfully full.

Being mindful is about being aware of your food as you are eating, and being aware of how your body is feeling. My body never feels good after overeating, and I can’t enjoy the rest of my day when I feel so uncomfortably full. When I mindfully eat, I slow down, and notice my fullness sooner.

With Mindful Eating, Food Doesn’t Have the Power over You Anymore

Not only is Mindful eating helpful with weight loss, but could also be helpful for people struggling with binge eating and food obsessing. When people are constantly dieting, they are constantly obsessing about food. When there are no forbidden foods, food doesn’t have that power over you anymore. Mindful eating works because you don’t feel deprived, you enjoy your food, there are no forbidden foods, you feel less guilt, and it takes less willpower.

To Find out how to Mindfully Eat, click here

or

If you want a more detailed explanation as well as the opportunity to intigrate mindfulness into your life with a hands-on book and mindfulness worksheets, I would recommend “Mastering Mindfulness” by dietitian, Gina B. I am so excited about this book. I have included the link to her book below.

Another product I just found out about  is the PortionMate – Meal Portion Control Rings and Nutrition Tool

This makes portioning super easy. You can take these portion rings with you anywhere and place them on your plate to make sure your food is the appropriate portion. I think this product used in combination with mindful eating could greatly help with portion control.

Resources:

Today’s Dietitian

The Center for Mindful Eating

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