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Ask Dr. Nandi: Can mindfulness help shed extra pounds?

Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 15:10:04-05

If you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off, a new study finds mindfulness may be the answer.

I’m a huge fan of mindfulness and this is another great reason to encourage it. 

Canadian researchers from McGill University analyzed 19 studies that involved over 1,100 participants. They found mindfulness not only helped people lose weight but also improved obesity-related eating behaviors. 

And at follow-up evaluations, participants who continued to practice mindfulness had more stable long-term outcomes when compared to those who only dieted and exercised.  

The people in the diet and exercise group lost more pounds at first. But at the follow-up evaluations, they hadn’t lost any additional weight. 

In fact many of them actually regained some of it back. But those who kept practicing mindfulness continued to lose more weight. So to help you make mindfulness a part of your life, here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX

  1. Avoid distractions when eating.  Don’t read, watch TV, browse social media sites or eat on the run or you could end up eating more than you’d like to.  
  2. Maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of what you are doing.  Savor every mouth full and focus on chewing slowly.
  3. Pay attention to the smell, color, flavor and texture of your foods.  You’ll eat less and feel more satisfied.  
  4. Ask yourself “Am I hungry” before reaching for food.  This can help you avoid eating when stressed, bored or emotional.  

There are no recipes or menus you need to follow when eating mindfully. It’s about how you should eat, not what to eat. It’s about enjoying foods rather than mindlessly eating. 

With practice, you’ll develop a new relationship with food.  So you can be in control and aware of what you’re eating and still include the foods you love.