There is a statistic that tells us 99% of all weight loss attempts eventually fail. I reject that it’s actually 99%. There is really no way to accurately measure how many weight loss attempts fail. I’m certain that it’s far fewer than 99% and the National Weight Control Registry has proven it, but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of them really do fail.
The sad thing about these failed weight losses is they didn’t need to end in failure. The success rate could be significantly higher if people who lost weight learned and continued to practice this one, important skill.
The skill of Mindful Eating!
Steps to learning the skill of mindful eating:
1. Read nutrition facts on packages.
The front of the package where it says, “low fat,” or “good source of fiber,” or “gluten-free,” or “no sugar added,” doesn’t tell you what you need to know. You need to know serving size, and calories per serving. Source of calories is important too. Check fat, sugar (eat less) and protein (eat more) content.
2. Practice portion control.
You can use food scales and measuring cups, but comparing servings to your hand or common objects is just as effective, if not more so. You may be without your measuring tools, but you always have your hand with you.
- Palm of your hand (no fingers) is about 3oz serving of meat.
- Cupped hand hold about 1oz or 1/4 cup.
- Your thumb tip is about 1TB.
- Your fingertip is about 1Tsp.
- Your fist is about 1 cup.
- A bagel the size of a CD is equal to about 6 servings of bread.
- A half cup serving of ice cream or potato salad (or anything scoopable) is about as much as would fit inside (no overflowing) of an aerosol spray can top.
3. Make your meal an event.
There will be times when you’re hungry and you have a lot going on. You’ll have to eat while you multitask. That’s fine, but whenever you can, avoid multitasking while eating. Make it a rule to not do anything during your meal except enjoying the meal and the company of your dining companions.
Eat slowly. Chew thoroughly. Put your fork down between bites. Enjoy your food and notice how full you’re becoming. Eat until you’re full, stop before you’re stuffed.
4. Seek balance.
Keeping a food diary is the best way to stay balanced while enjoying flexibility. It’s not necessary to balance every meal. You don’t even need to achieve balance on a daily basis. Strive to achieve balance with food choices over the course of a few days. When you track your food it’s easy to see where you are heading off track so that all you’ll need is a little adjustment to restore balance.
5. Manage your emotions without food.
This may be easier said than done, but with awareness it’s possible to break the emotional eating habit.
Learning a new skill takes dedication and practice. We don’t excel at new skills the first time we try something new. We practice to learn and we keep practicing to get better until it becomes second nature. If it’s hard when you first try, that’s okay, keep working at mindful eating.
You can do it! Some of the biggest winners of all times didn’t become winners until they experienced some – or many – failed attempts!