If the holidays typically leave you overwhelmed and gasping for air, it’s time to start practicing mindfulness – so you can enjoy this time of year without stressing about the scale.
With the advance of technology in our lives, when is the last time you simply just sat quietly with yourself?
You might be thinking that this seems hard (or even pointless), but it is actually the start of a healthier state of existence – being mindful. Instead of directing your energy on doing something, the practice of mindfulness is grateful for the state of being. In essence, being mindful is being aware of the present moment in all its glory.
So Why Is Mindfulness Important?
Life is busy, and often the busyness can lead to lives with increasing stress and anxiety. When it comes to weight loss, you may be mindlessly snacking due to heightened emotions, feeling overwhelmed, or even feeling bored – without even paying attention to it. This of course can lead to extra calories consumed and not even being satisfied after having a meal or snack.
The practice of mindfulness as a lifestyle can therefore benefit you in mind, body, and spirit – helping you to live a calmer, more structured, more in-tune life with everyone and everything around you. Living this way just may be one of the best things you can do for better wellness all around.
Can Mindfulness Help Me Lose Weight?
Along with being an incredibly effective way to live, being mindful is also a powerful tool in weight loss and weight maintenance – which we’ll discuss in this article! Many studies have shown that people who are successful in being mindful, (especially in mindful eating), find more success in their weight loss efforts. And likely are much happier overall than people who are doing traditional dieting to lose weight.
Let’s learn more about mindful eating and how it can benefit you and help you maintain a healthy body and mind by reading on!
How Can I Be Mindful (Step 1)
Before you can take advantage of the benefits of mindful eating for weight loss, let’s start at the beginning. Let's start by understanding what mindfulness means for you and how you can take advantage of it.
I’m going to lead you through an exercise that you can do for yourself. This exercise will help get you into a state of mindfulness and help you understand what mindful eating really is. And it all starts with observation!
For the sake of this example, I’m going to suggest you pick out a pineapple at the store or any fruit that you can cut up and prepare. In the original example of this exercise, they use just one tiny raisin – and if you wish you can use that too. (1)
But I’m suggesting a pineapple because it looks completely different on the outside than it does on the inside. Let’s try the exercise…
Exercise: How to Be Mindful (Step-By-Step Practice)
Put away your phone and anything distracting before starting this exercise!
With your pineapple or another fruit ready for you, pretend that you’re brand-new to Earth and you’ve never seen the fruit, or any fruit, before.
Sit down at a table with your pineapple and examine it. What does the outside feel like in your hands? How does it smell? Sweet? Tropical?
Spend a few minutes really appreciating this pineapple and getting excited to eat it. Also, take a minute to think about all the work that went into bringing this pineapple into your house. Give gratitude for this process of growing, harvesting, transporting, and more. And recognize, perhaps for the first time, just how lucky you are that foods such as this are readily available to you.
Once you’re ready, get a cutting board and knife to cut your pineapple. While you’re cutting it, be very alert during the entire process. Pay attention to...
- The sounds the knife makes on the wood
- The intense tropical smell of the pineapple once you slice it
- The change in color
- And anything else you notice!
Cut a bite-size piece of the pineapple and try it. As you bite into it, focus on the way it feels in your mouth, the unique taste and texture, and whether you actually enjoy it. Pay attention to each bite, chewing slower and more intentionally than you normally would.
Completing this exercise is the first step to learning not only how to live mindfully, but also how to eat in a mindful way – so you’re in control, and enjoy the experience! Let’s take an even closer look at what mindful eating can look like for you on a daily basis…
How to Be Mindful DAILY
Now that you understand how to slow yourself down and really be mindful in a situation, let’s take a look at how you can make it a reality in your day-to-day life...
Numerous studies show that consuming food in this state of mindfulness (including simply being aware of what you are eating and the physical state of eating it), is highly successful for weight loss. (2)
Let’s first take a look at WHY mindfulness works for weight loss and then we’ll look at HOW to put it in place in your life.
5 Reasons Why Mindfulness Eating Works for Weight Loss
So, why exactly does the state of being mindful work positively in your favor when it comes to your weight loss goals? Let’s take a look…
1) You Don’t Feel Deprived
When you put mindful eating into practice, it’s not about what you CAN’T eat – instead, it’s much more positive. When trying to slim down, many people try to skip meals, remove entire food groups from their diet, and/or cut out foods like sugar or processed foods.
Understanding why wholesome, healthy foods matter and developing a plan for eating foods that nourish your body is important. But completely depriving yourself of things you want is not the way to get there.
Instead of cutting anything out of your diet or staying focused on calories alone, mindful eating encourages you to enjoy your food and eat until satisfaction. And not to lean on food as an emotional crutch, overindulge, or continuously make unhealthy food choices.
In essence, mindful eating is developing a healthy relationship with food that allows you to treat yourself while keeping you in control on a day-to-day basis.
2) You Get to the Root of Bad Habits
Mindful eating allows you to be a detective into your own life and examine your state of being and why you do the things you do.
In keeping with this detective attitude, you should continually jot down and take notes of “why” you’re doing things. In this way, you can start to learn why you make the choices you do, and get to the root of bad habits so you can correct them from the source.
For instance, if you’re always craving a salty snack after having a conversation with a friend or relative, it may dawn on you that something within the conversation is stressing you out and causing you to reach for comfort. This simple state of awareness can help you make the decision to go for a run or do something else instead of snacking.
3) You Learn About Yourself
The next thing that mindfulness can do for you is turn the spotlight within and help you identify your unique preferences and cravings. So much of diet culture teaches you that what you want is not OK – that you need to change to succeed.
But mindfulness is much more freeing.
Yes, some change is necessary to live a healthier lifestyle. But you should still honor the parts of yourself that give you individuality – and that goes for everything from your profession to your food preferences.
While some people enjoy eating a big breakfast at the start of their day, you may do better with small meals throughout the day. While some people may benefit from completely cutting sugar out of their diet, others may thrive with having a small treat every day.
There is no cookie-cutter formula for success, so it’s important to be an investigator in your own life and examine the best way that will work for you.
4) It Fosters Self-Love Instead of Hate
Another way that mindfulness can assist with your health and weight loss goals is that it helps you to love yourself. Often, the cycle of trying to lose weight and not being successful can bring about a sense of internal disappointment that turns into loathing.
Yet, many diets set you up for failure in trying to abide by certain unattainable rules. This creates a cycle of self-hate where you continue to put yourself down for “not reaching” or “not sticking with” your goal.
In contrast, when you take a mindful approach to things, you’re free to design your own course of action. You become the master of what works and what doesn’t, and you pat yourself on the back the entire way as you navigate your new lifestyle of nourishing your body and mind.
5) You Gain Self-Confidence
Along with fostering self-love, practicing mindfulness is also great for your self-confidence because you learn to trust yourself and adhere to your individual needs. Some days, you may be hungrier than others and that’s okay. You’ll learn how to nourish your body so you have the energy and mental stamina for your day, and stay away from foods that don’t leave you feeling your best.
By being an investigator into your own needs, you will naturally lean towards healthier choices simply based on how they benefit you. And then feel rewarded in the process when you’re able to live the life you desire – AND meet your goals!
How to Put Mindfulness to Work In Your Life
Now that you know that mindfulness works not just for weight loss but also for overall health and vitality, lets take a look at how you can put it to work for you!
Especially this time of year – with holidays full of indulgent eating and sweet treats around the corner – this is a great time to start practicing mindfulness, so you can gain control over your diet and enjoy this time of year without stressing about the scale.
Pro Tips for Using Mindfulness to Help You Accomplish Your Goals:
So, how do you make mindfulness work for you? Try putting these actions into place every day!
1) Develop a Morning Routine
The morning is the best time to get yourself grounded and focused, so you can start your day right. Develop a routine that allows you to bring meaning to your day and sets you up for success. And most importantly, take a few moments to sit with yourself, go over your goals for the day, and start to get excited about putting them into action.
Slowing down your mind and body to actually focus with intention can be a powerful tool for setting your entire day on the right path. And it can help you get in line with your ultimate desires instead of just going through the motions.
2) Create Mantras That You Repeat Often
Next, you want to make sure that you keep up with the powerful intentions you set in the morning throughout the day. The best way to do this is by pumping yourself up with words. When you’re feeling stressed, sad, angry, or another strong emotion, these mantras can help remind you that you’re still in control – and it’s okay to let yourself feel the emotions and then move on.
Some great mantras & positive self-talk include:
- I’m doing great – I just need to keep going!
- I’ve got this!
- I’m stronger than I think.
- I’m making great progress.
- This is hard, and that’s ok. But I’m going to get through it.
3) Take Notes on Your Habits & Behaviors
To be a detective in your own life you’ll want to keep a notebook or the notepad in your phone handy so you can jot down repeat behaviors. Be curious about WHY you’re doing things.
For instance, if you always want chocolate at a certain time of day, ask yourself: what might be causing that craving? Or, if you always feel ravenous after your workouts, ask yourself: what does your body need or crave that you're not giving it?
When you decide to turn within, you may find that you’ve been covering up strong emotions with certain foods, or depriving yourself of other foods. When you see patterns in your behavior, you can get to the root of the problem and redirect it. For instance, going for a walk or having some tea instead of chocolate. Or giving yourself a nourishing shake or snack after your workout so you’re rejuvenated and fulfilled.
4) Check In With Yourself Before You Eat
You also want to be an investigator BEFORE you eat something. For instance, if you’re suddenly craving a salty snack food… ask yourself why? When is the last time you craved that food? Are they similar circumstances? Or, maybe you’re actually thirsty, or your body is craving sodium that you can get from a healthier food choice.
When you turn within, you may discover that you intuitively know some answers to the WHY behind your eating habits. So, always check before you eat if you’re craving something unhealthy or desiring to eat MORE food than you need to.
5) Change the WAY You Eat
Next, you also want to change HOW you eat by being extremely mindful and enjoying it to the fullest. You learned a little about this in the pineapple exercise we did earlier. But here are concrete ways you can eat mindfully throughout your entire meal:
- Get rid of distractions at mealtime – Instead of trying to multitask and do other things while you eat, devote a set amount of time solely to eating and enjoying that food.
- Chew (or drink) slower and more intentionally – You also don’t want to race through your meal. Take intentional bites or sips, really feeling the food in your mouth, taking in the smells of it, and savoring each bite. You will likely find that you become full much faster than you would have before.
- Feed your cravings (in reason) – It’s OK to give yourself the things you’re craving, especially if you eat them mindfully. Give yourself small portions of the things you’re craving and savor them, then go back to clean eating. This helps reduce binging on the foods you're craving while still satisfying your desire.
6) Appreciate the Process
Finally, remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. Part of the goal of being mindful is recognizing that weight loss, like everything else in life, will take some time and you need to be patient with the process. Instead, appreciate and celebrate the small changes and wins you make every day – because it’s all part of your journey to a better you!
Once you start to realize you aren’t the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago, it becomes clear how much you’ve grown and how you’re continuing to climb towards your BEST LIFE every single day.
Pro Tip: How to “Drink Mindfully” for Weight Loss
At 310, we believe that a clean and nourishing diet combined with a healthy lifestyle are the keys to achieving and maintaining your goals. Mindfulness is a tool that can help you in this process. And another tool we highly recommend is 310 Shakes.
310 Shakes and mindfulness used together can be a powerfully transformative plan for helping yourself slim down, tone up, and find much greater health, happiness, and vitality!
For weight loss, we recommend having two super-yummy, dessert-like 310 Shakes day. How you incorporate them into your day is dependent on your lifestyle. But we suggest having one hearty shake as a meal replacement and another to satisfy your snack cravings. So, how do you drink mindfully?
You start with amazingly-delicious recipes.
Many people enjoy our 310 All-In-One Shake flavors (like Horchata, Caramel Sundae, or a limited edition holiday flavor like Peppermint Swirl) blended with milk and half a banana. But there are also so many delicious recipes that you can try!
Here are some of our current seasonal favorites:
- White Peppermint Mocha Shake
- Chocolate Pumpkin Shake
- Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Hot Shake: Protein-Packed Horchata Latte
- Hot Shake: Peppermint Mocha
These drinks are so good, you can’t help but savor them, and they make deliciously-nourishing substitutions for regular meals.
Ready to Be More Mindful?
This process starts with you, and we’re excited to be with you as you navigate it! Remember that real, lasting change may not happen overnight, but you have to set things into motion to get there.
Be prepared to say “yes” to living more mindfully and intentionally today. We guarantee you’ll start seeing a major transformation in how you look, feel, and live in the process!