Dieting Trends – Do They Work?
Mindful Eating is Consuming food With a Purpose and Consideration
Our society is an overly abundant, diet-obsessed culture, where eating has become a mindless, all consuming, and guilt ridden pastime. Eat this but don’t eat that; drink this but don’t drink that or just eat more of this, not that. Dieting trends are so tantalizing because they are always promising the magic weight loss solution. However eating should be a natural and healthy act for satiating our appetite.
Science is now emerging with a concept that could shake the foundation of our diet obsessed culture. Simply put, science is now saying that we should follow the concept of “mindful eating”. What exactly is mindful eating? Susan Albers, PsyD, describes mindful eating as “When you are mindful, you are fully present, in-the-moment without judgment. When it comes to eating, mindfulness helps amplify the volume of your body’s cues so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full.” In other words the scientific community is telling us what we should know already, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full! A key problem is that many of us eat so fast that we consume far more food than we would if we ate slowly. On average, it takes approximately 20-minutes after eating, before we feel full. If we eat slowly, we tend to consume less food before we feel full. When we eat quickly, we eat more food in the same period of time. So, mindful eating helps slow us down and consume less calories.
Dieting Trends Do Not Work, They Actually Do More Harm Than Good
Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt (see Ted Talk link below) discusses research showing that not only does dieting not work, it’s actually more likely to do more harm than good. Research proposes rapid weight loss, slows your metabolism, which leads to future weight gain, and deprives your body of essential micronutrients. Furthermore, fad diets weaken the immune system, increase dehydration, cause heart palpitations, and increase cardiac stress.
During her brief lecture, Sandra Aamodt, states people who eat intuitively, meaning they eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full, are less likely to be overweight. They will also spend less time ruminating or obsessing about food. Aamodt explains the science surrounding the dieting myth, and how getting into the habit of mindful eating can lead us to be healthier, happier, and probably thinner.
So what does this all mean for someone who is on a diet now? Regardless of what fad diets may claim, the best way to reduce body fat is to exercise regularly and stick to a nutrition plan that:
- limits saturated fat and sugars
- highlights organic fruits and vegetables
- includes free-range lean meats, wild fish and whole grains.
Fitness Professionals Recommend Losing 1 to 2 Pounds a Week
When it is imperative that you reduce body fat, remember to lose weight slowly; fitness professionals recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. The key to maintaining a healthy body weight is a combination of nutrition and exercise. Hire a certified personal trainer, who can develop an exercise program that is appropriate for you and can modify as necessary. Nutrition plans should be developed by a certified nutritionist or Naturopathic doctor. Discuss which one would be more appropriate for you with your fitness professional.
In conclusion, when starting a mindful eating lifestyle, it is important not to compare yourself to anyone else or to judge your experience based on some else. We must stop judging ourselves and others. Start by just observing the feelings and thoughts that come up as you eat. Food needs to become a positive part of our daily life.
Cathie Glennon, BCRPA-SFL