The Surprising Technique that Helps with Weight Loss

If youíre like most people, you probably ate too much, drank too much and exercised too little during the holiday season. After all, who can resist all the excitement and the food and beverages that come along with the parties and gatherings? Even long-time nutritionists like me find themselves indulging in too many rich and fattening foods during the festivities.

So itís no surprise that the new year is bustling with dieters looking to lose the weight they gained during the holidays and many are turning to unhealthy dietary approaches that simply don’t work for the long-term (and sometimes donít even work in the short-term either). But what might surprise you is that a simple technique known as mindfulness has been found to be an effective approach for weight loss.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a process that involves a nonjudgmental focus on the present moment, observing sensations, thoughts, states of consciousness, physical feelings, the environment, while promoting acceptance. It involves paying greater attention to what we are doing or experiencing. The sad reality is that most of us spend so much time on the mental chatter in our head that we donít remember the foods we have eaten, how we drove ourselves home or what another person said during a conversation.

Mindfulness involves becoming more present on what is happening. In a conversation, mindfulness would involve actually listening to another person rather than just thinking about what we intend to say in response.

Related: Mindfulness and Meditation: What’s the Difference?

Mindfulness and Weight Loss

When it comes to eating, mindfulness involves being mentally present while we select our food, attentive to how it tastes and aware of when we feel full, rather than just eating without any awareness of what or how much we actually ate. Rather than just taking a fast food approach to eating while we are on the run or while working, we actually focus on eating.

New research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that mindfulness is a successful approach to weight loss. The study found that simply becoming more mindful during eating was enough to result in nearly 7 pounds of weight loss over 6 months, without making any other dietary or lifestyle change, compared to only 0.3 pounds among those who did not have any mindfulness training.

Other Benefits of Mindfulness

There are many other benefits of mindfulness. In research published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, mindfulness was found to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Meditation and mindfulness have also been linked to changes in the brain, including changes in resting brain wave patterns and even physical changes in the brain itself.

The brain is not the only organ or system in the body positively affected by mindfulness meditation. Another study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that mindfulness meditation resulted in several positive changes in immune system markers, suggesting that the practice may have benefits on immune system activity.

Itís not necessary to become a yogi to start benefiting from mindfulness. There are many mindfulness meditation classes in most communities, frequently led by psychologists or meditation specialists. Additionally, there are many mindfulness meditation videos available online.

According to Mindful.org, there are 5 keys to a good mindfulness meditation practice, including:

  • Setting time aside for mindfulness meditation
  • Observing the present moment as it is
  • Letting judgements go
  • Returning to the present moment as it is when our thoughts carry us away
  • Being kind to yourself when your mind wanders

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter Worldís Healthiest News, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada and Scentsational Wellness, and a best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.† Follow her work.

86 comments

Hannah A
Hannah A18 hours ago

Thank you

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Maria P
Maria P3 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Leo C
Leo C3 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan H5 days ago

thanks

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Patrice Z
Patrice Z5 days ago

Very interesting article.

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Louise A
Louise A6 days ago

Thanks for this

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lynda l
lynda l8 days ago

Letting judgements go works for me

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Kevin B
Kevin B9 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L16 days ago

tyfs

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danii p
danii p16 days ago

Thanks

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