Mindfulness and Dieting
It's a well-known fact that dieting is 50% physical and 50% mental. The physical part is easy enough to understand: you eat less, you eat smarter, and you exercise. The mental and emotional part, however, is where dieting becomes tricky. When dieting, it can take immense will-power to keep oneself from indulging in treats or overeating, especially in times of stress or around groups of people. Mindfulness, which is the practice of engaging your mind and checking in with yourself mentally and emotionally, can help with these struggles.
Practice mindfulness different ways. The most common form of mindfulness is meditation, which is the practice of deep breathing in a quiet space to clear the mind. Meditation can help impact a dieter's life in many different ways, including by calming the dieter in times of stress or by giving the dieter something to do rather than eating. Meditation can be guided or done by oneself. All that's required is a comfortable space and either calming background noise or silence. If you choose to practice meditation, be sure that you are in a space where you won't be interrupted for the period of time you choose to meditate.
Meditation can be difficult to maintain in practice, and you may feel antsy when you first begin to practice. This is normal, and with continued meditation, is easy to overcome. If you are new to meditation, begin first by setting aside ten minutes in your day. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you won't be interrupted, and sit or lay down however you feel comfortable. It may be helpful to set a timer at this point. Begin by focusing on your breathing. Notice how your breath moves through your body. Do this until you feel comfortable with your breathing. Then begin deeply breathing in through your nose for four counts, holding it for two counts, and releasing it through your nose for four counts. Focus only on your breathing during this time, and try not to let any other thoughts enter your head. It can be helpful to imagine your head as an empty room, and if thoughts try to creep into this room, push them out and shut the door so they can't get back in. Do this for ten minutes, or as long as feels comfortable to you.
Once you've gotten into the practice of meditation, you may wish to start meditating on the goals you have set for yourself with your diet. If your goal is to reduce your cholesterol levels, for example, during your meditation time, you may want to focus your energy on ways to do this, or on the ways in which achieving this goal will help you feel healthier. Meditation is a mental process, and meditating frequently has been proven to help reduce stress levels, especially in people who are actively working towards set goals in their lives.
Get In Tune With Your body
Mindfulness is not simply limited to meditation, however. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time of the day. To begin practicing mindfulness, start with a simple exercise. At any point in your day, close your eyes. Feel your body. Does anything ache or hurt? If so, why? What can you do to ease this pain? Body tired? Does it need fuel? Have you been kind to your body today, or have you been putting it through something stressful? Count in your head very slowly to ten, noticing how your breath enters and exits your body. It may be helpful to research the different energizing pressure points on your body. Then massage them gently (Study Emotional Freedom Techniques also know as EFT Tapping). Open your eyes. If you perform this exercise correctly, you should have a better understanding of how your body feels at any given point you choose to attempt the exercise.
Practicing this exercise can also be helpful when feelings of hunger begin to appear. When you check in with your body during a mindfulness exercise, ask yourself whether you are truly hungry, or if you're thirsty, bored, angry, tired, or any number of other feelings. One of the most important impacts of mindfulness on dieting is that it can help dieters to eat less frequently. And help develop the willpower to avoid eating unhealthy or excessively. During these check-ins, you can ask yourself whether you're making the choices you need to make in the cafeteria, restaurant or at the store, or whether or not your body is actually full during a meal.
Additional Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness also promotes self-love and being kind to your body. Your body does so much for you on any given day, and it's important to take care of yourself, especially through the process of dieting. Mindfulness helps you to listen and respond to what your body is saying.
Practicing mindfulness can ensure that you aren't starving your body of the nutrients it needs. Nor giving it anything it doesn't need to perform optimally. Mindfulness also helps you to feel more in-tune with your body. Producing feelings of happiness and self-confidence. It can be daunting to start spending so much time with yourself, especially if you have negative feelings towards your body, but these feelings do go away with time. Mindfulness should be an essential part of any holistic dieting experience.