Mindful | 04th August 2021 | Virtual Wire
Dieting has been one of the latest fads among millions of internet users today. There are numerous apps, YouTube channels, blogs and websites that promote dieting. It can be pretty good to reduce weight.
You can follow it for a couple of months to reach the goal you desire. But what after that? What happens when you complete your ideal weight loss goal? Do you follow the diet for eternity? And does your weight remain the same after you stop dieting?
When I gained a lot of weight, I researched on the internet how to lose weight. Dieting and exercise are all I got in my suggestions. People told me, “You cannot lose weight with exercise alone. You need to diet too to lose weight.” And hence, I started keto dieting along with exercising.
I cut down on carbs, ate a lot of proteins and a bit of fibre. It was pretty tough for me. Although I am not proud to admit it, I love eating junk food and refined carbs a lot. (And I’m pretty sure a lot of you feel the same!) It was tough for me to forget all about junk food at once and make restrictions even on the healthy food that I ate. But I did it anyway, for the sake of my body.
After a month, I did lose quite a bit of weight. (Around 3kgs) I felt healthier and happier with my body. I continued it for another month and lost another 3kgs. I reached my goal of weighing 50kgs.
I was overjoyed. But it was still difficult for me to restrict myself from eating. Since I had completed my target, there was no need for me to continue dieting. Hence, I stopped both dieting and exercising.
The problems started two months later, from the time I stopped dieting. I started gaining weight again. I was horrified to see my weight on the weighing scale. I had already gained 2kgs. I started exercising again without pushing myself too hard. The progress was slow. I realized that dieting is not working for me.
I saw another friend of mine facing the problem. She gave up in both dieting and exercising and went back to her initial weight three months later from the time she gave up.
I think most of us face this problem. The problem with dieting is that it focuses on “what” to eat. It restricts our food intake. Dieting can give us a negative relationship with our food.
I was unhappy for the entire time I was dieting because I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted. But we all are aware that eating a burger will not help us in maintaining our weight. So then, what to do?
There is intermittent fasting to solve this problem. You do not have to restrict your food intake nor exercise if you do intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is also a trend nowadays.
It is pretty efficient too. But if you’re someone like me who don’t want to fast either, then there’s another way. I came across this new way of eating on Headspace. (it’s a mediation app) It’s called mindful eating.
Mindful eating focuses on the “why” of eating and not on the “what”. The idea of mindful eating is to pay attention to our bodily cues that tell us whether we’re hungry or full. It gives us an idea of how much to eat.
Many of us who have weight gain issues eat more than what is required. We eat out of boredom or eat for the sake of eating. Mindful eating makes us pay attention to our body’s hunger calls when we eat.
How to eat mindfully?
There is a tool called the “Hunger Scale”, which you can use to practice mindful eating. It’s a scale of one to ten where one is starving. Five is neither hungry nor full. When you’re going for a meal, your goal will be to stay around three where you’re hungry. At the same time, you’re not eating for the sake of eating.
Once you start eating, imagine the same scale but to ten. Ten means that you’re full. While eating, your goal will be to stop at around seven. At this point, you’re full but not so much as to feel uncomfortable.
Mindful eating might seem hard at first, especially to pay attention to the food solely while eating. But once you start doing it, you get aware of your bodily cues and stop when it tells you to stop. If you keep practising it, you’ll get an idea of how much you need to eat.
The best part is of this technique is- you can eat whatever you want! But I am in no way promoting that eating junk food is alright. We all know that it’s not healthy! All I am asking is to be mindful of what you eat.
Once you are aware, you will automatically stop consuming food that you know might harm you. You train yourself by thinking, “why” you’re eating, thus making better food choices.
Mindful eating helps us build a positive relationship with our food. (No more restrictions) Studies have shown that it also builds self-esteem and helps in maintaining a healthier weight.
It may or may not help you in reaching your weight loss goal like dieting. But it’s sustainable. It will help you in remaining healthy. If you consistently practice it, you’ll soon see its benefits. So, with the right amount of exercise and mindful eating, you’re good to go towards a healthier body!