Mindfulness - How it can help with weight control

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a popular tool in psychology that is commonly used as an effective treatment for pain relief, cancer, anxiety and depression. It involves a focus on emotions, thoughts and sensations that occur in the present moment. An important part of mindfulness includes learning self-acceptance, without judgement.

How can mindfulness help control weight?

The ideas of mindfulness transfer well and help people manage the challenges that modern life places on achieving good dietary eating patterns, and suitable portion sizes. Instead of eating on ‘automatic pilot’ mindfulness helps people ‘switch on’ and focus on the ‘why’ of eating as well as on the ‘what’.  Mindful eating skills help us to understand our relationship with food and accept this unconditionally, so we are able to move forward. 

Mindful eating programmes explore the conscious and unconscious decisions behind food and eating habits – the why, when, what, and where of eating. There is a strong emphasis on compassion and self-worth, since acceptance and non-judgemental attitudes are central to understanding and then changing unhelpful behaviours. 

Some mindful questions to help you understand and control your eating

  • Where am I? Am I sitting down at a table?
  • Am I self conscious or uncomfortable?
  • Where am I? Am I sitting down at a table?
  • How long is it since I last ate?
  • Do I have a choice about eating the food?
  • Am I eating fast or slow?
  • Am I paying attention to what I am eating and how it tastes?
  • Have I checked if I am hungry? Have I asked how hungry I am before eating?
  • Have I made an effort not to multitask? Am I fully focusing on my meal?
  • Am I aware of my tiredness level?
  • Have I checked some of my emotions (stress/upset/lonely/anxious/tired/angry)?

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