Learning to Eat Mindfully
While many dieters consider hunger to be the largest hurdle facing them when it comes to a personal fight against obesity, after weight loss surgery hunger may not be much of an obstacle at all. A suppressed appetite makes it easier to control your eating habits by taking away the frustrating pangs of hunger, but if you are truly honest with yourself and take a long and hard look at your eating habits, you may realize that the most challenging moments have nothing to do with hunger at all.
Mindless eating, which includes grazing, social eating or emotional eating, is one of the biggest threats to any weight loss program. Your weight loss surgeon can address the physical pangs of hunger by restricting your appetite with bariatric surgery, but mindless eating is a mental issue. You need to make the conscious choice to become a more mindful eater after weight loss surgery, otherwise you could be facing the habit of overeating face-on once again.
Identifying the Threat
Since mindless eating has little to do with hunger, the threat of mindless eating is one that many people overlook. You don’t have to think about ways to cut calories or how to make healthier choices in these situations. Instead, when faced with a situation of mindless eating, the trick is to push yourself back into a conscious state of mind.
The most common causes of mindless eating are:
- Distraction: such as eating in front of the TV.
- Social conformity: such as eating at a friend’s house or party.
- Boredom: which often leads to mindlessly eating.
- Emotional days: including either happiness, sadness or anxiety. All of these feelings can trigger the desire to eat, even when you aren’t hungry.
- Grazing: such as picking at food as you prepare dinner or grabbing an unnecessary snack on the go.
Overcoming mindless eating requires mindfulness. You can become a more mindful eater by making the choice to be more conscious and thoughtful about every bite that you put in your mouth. There are several strategies that can help you accomplish this.
Strategies to eat more mindfully include:
- Create a dedicated place in your home where you will eat and do not eat anything anywhere else.
- Keep a journal of your food intake and whenever you go to take a bite take out your journal and write it down.
- Make a plan of what you are going to eat at the start of the day and have your meals ready to go so you don’t fall off track.
Becoming a more mindful eater may take time, but it is an important and helpful step on your journey to becoming a healthier person.