I am so glad I came across this TED talk by Sandra Aamodt, neuroscientist. Everything she says is what I wholeheartedly believe in. Mindfulness is the best way to approach eating.
Some points that stood out for me (amongst many) are the following:
- There are two groups of eaters: 1) Intuitive eaters who eat because they are hungry 2) Controlled eaters who use will power to control what they eat. Group 1 are less likely to be overweight and think about food less, whereas Group 2 are more vulnerable to advertising, all you can eat buffets and turning small indulgences into full blown binges. Which group are you?
- Typical outcome of dieting is you are more likely to gain weight in the long run. If diets worked, we would all be thin already. Diets are more likely to ruin lives and cause disorders. Willpower will fail when your attention moves onto something else.
We need to be MINDFUL when we eat. We need to learn to understand our body’s signals. Most weight gain is caused by eating when you are not hungry.
- How do we achieve mindfulness:
1. Give yourself permission to eat as much as you want and learn what makes you feel good. If you feel toxic after a Mac Donald’s burger (which is how I feel after white pasta) then why eat it?
2. Sit down to regular meals without distractions and think about how your body feels as you eat.
3. Let hunger decide when you should be finished your meal
- Once you have achieved mindfulness, you will soon forget there is chocolate in the house (which I do, unless I have banned myself, then it is all I can think about), you will stop feeling anxious about knowing there are treats in the cupboards and you will ultimately be more relaxed about food.
- We should focus on preventing weight gain rather than weight loss.
- Work WITH our appetites
- A large percentage of young girls are dieting instead of understanding their bodies’ signals, understanding it’s ok to eat when they are hungry. Statistics show that girls who diet in their teenage years are more likely to be overweight in their adult years.
Let’s ditch the diets and learn to understand food, what it does to us, how to respond to our bodies positively, how to be aware of how certain foods make us feel and learn to LOVE the way we are designed.